Metro Transit police investigating officer's question of immigration status

- Metro Transit Internal Affairs will be investigating an encounter between a Metro Transit police officer and a man, during which the officer asked about the man's immigration status, according to a statement from Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington.

The officer asked the man if he was in the state illegally.

The officer works part-time for Metro Transit Police, according to a Harrington.

He said asking the immigration status of the riders is "not the practice" of Metro Transit police.

"Metro Transit and our parent organization, the Metropolitan Council, believe strongly in the need for our riders to feel safe in our relationship with our officers," said the statement in part. "The main priority for our officers is to ensure that our riders and the communities we serve are safe."

Cell phone video captured the incident. See below or click here for a link.

Metro Transit statement:

"This afternoon, community members and partners alerted me to a situation in which one of my part time officers was witnessed asking an individual whether he was in the state illegally. I immediately called for an Internal Affairs investigation to gather the details about this incident and to report back to me as quickly as possible.

"It is not the practice of the Metro Transit police to inquire about the immigration status of our riders. Our policy states:

'It is the policy of the Metro Transit Police Department that all members make personal and professional commitments to equal enforcement of the law and equal service to the public. Confidence in this commitment will increase the effectiveness of this department in protecting and serving the entire community and recognizing the dignity of all persons, regardless of their immigration status.'

"Metro Transit and our parent organization, the Metropolitan Council, believe strongly in the need for our riders to feel safe in our relationship with our officers. The main priority for our officers is to ensure that our riders and the communities we serve are safe. Our officers do this by enforcing our local and state statutes and have not been trained or empowered to act as Federal Immigration authorities.

"At this time, no further details regarding this specific incident are available.”

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