A Tacoma, Washington, police officer was seen driving through a downtown crowd Saturday night, running over at least one person and sending them to the hospital.
The officer responded to multiple calls that a group of people were blocking a downtown intersection when the crowd began descending on the police car, the Tacoma Police Department said. Interim Tacoma Police Chief Mike Ake said he is “committed” to the department’s full cooperation into an investigation into the incident.
“I am concerned that our department is experiencing another use of deadly force incident,” Ake said.
Multiple bystander videos were posted online of the incident, where the police car can be seen rolling over a person and continuing to move forward. Authorities from Pierce County are taking over the probe into the incident as an independent investigation team.
A crowd of about 100 people and several cars were blocking an intersection at Pacific Avenue when the department arrived downtown, according to a police statement. One Tacoma police car was then surrounded by the crowd and the officer inside struggled to remove himself.
“People hit the body of the police vehicle and its windows as the officer was stopped in the street,” Tacoma police said. “The officer, fearing for his safety, tried to back up, but was unable to do so because of the crowd.”
The officer then moved the car forward, with lights and sirens, striking at least one person. The condition of the individual, who was taken to a local hospital, is unknown.
Police said the officer stopped after moving some distance away and called for medical aid. The officer was not identified by police.
Social media users referred to the event as a “car meet,” with some accounts posting videos of people in cars doing donuts in the intersection while some in the crowd filmed on their phones. Videos posted of the car stunts in what appeared to be the same intersection showed similar tire marks in the road as those seen in videos posted of the Tacoma police vehicle.
Police did not characterize the crowd that blocked the Tacoma intersection.