Police officers in St. Paul, Minnesota, were under investigation when a video of a recent arrest inside a UPS store surfaced online. In the footage, which depicts an incident from September 26, 2019, at around 6:30 pm, an officer confronts a thirteen-year-old girl in a gas station parking lot because there was a trespassing order against the girl for that gas station – so he approaches her to figure out what’s going on.
The officer had previous experience with the underage girl and knew that she had been banned, as Steve Linders, the St. Paul Police Public Information Officer, said. This led the officer to have a preconceived bias about the 13-year-old girl when he approached her. He was expecting trouble.
“He knew from previous experience with the female that she had been banned from the property until August 2020 because she had been a chronic problem at that location,” Linders said in defense of the officer.
Because the child saw the police officer coming, she fled the location. She went to a train station and jumped over the rails. The officer worried about her safety but did not follow.
Later, the same cop received an urgent call to respond to a parking lot where four juveniles were reportedly breaking into cars. The cop arrived and entered the UPS Store only to find the same girl from before hiding behind a counter.
He demanded the girl lie on her stomach. She refused because the officer had no probable cause and no reason to evidence against her. The officer didn’t care. He demanded she lie down, and she refused, and, afraid of what might happen, lashed out at the cop.
Fortunately, store employees caught the incident on camera. The officer was forcing the girl to submit with force while she tried to scratch her way to freedom. Footage shows the girl grunting and groaning as the adult men try to subdue her. Eventually, cops forced her to comply and took her into custody.
But the footage is not pretty. Even when she was handcuffed, the child continued to resist. The store owner, Ryan Wilson, told The Pioneer Press that she even tried to kick at an officer as she was escorted out.
Although some people see a little girl resisting arrest, others see the cops arresting a child for nothing – and using unnecessary force to do it.
Civil rights attorney Nekima Levy-Armstrong said, “When I first saw that video, I was just shocked. I was overwhelmed. I wanted to cry. I thought it was the unacceptable treatment of a child of officers who are supposed to protect and serve.”
The mayor of St. Paul, Melvin Carter, agreed with the attorney. Now he wants an investigation into the aggressive police officers.
“I don’t think there’s anyone of us who wants to see a video of a young girl in physical interaction with a St. Paul police officer. We don’t know enough to say much beyond that, yet that it’s disturbing to see an image we don’t want to see in our community. We owe it to ourselves to be transparent and to be thorough. We owe it to ourselves that we check.”
He’s launching an investigation.
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