VIDEO: Rough arrest of Minneapolis light rail passenger without ticket

A Minneapolis man was arrested after getting caught on the light rail near Target Field Station without a boarding ticket, but he says the arrest was taken too far.  His sister caught the whole incident on camera, which shows him forcefully taken to the ground by an officer.

Metro Transit representatives said their officers were just following protocol, but Draon Armstrong said he wasn’t even resisting the arrest.

“Once the one individual decided he was going to tell us in somewhat colorful language he was not planning to respond to the citation, we had issued the rules of the court to dictate or suggest at that time an arrest is an appropriate thing,” a Metro Transit spokesperson said.

Right now it's unclear why Armstrong was forcefully taken down or exactly why an officer had his knee on Armstrong's face.  But the footage shows his body being slammed onto the concrete.

“It certainly looks dramatic, I certainly understand that,” John Harrington, Metro Transit Police Chief, said.  “But it really does look like the officer was following department policy in terms of how we use force.”

Armstrong said this was a clear case of excessive force, and he maintains that he didn’t give the officers any trouble. But Harrington said preliminary information reveals otherwise.

“It’s exactly what we train officers to do that if they have someone who's resisting,” Harrington said.  “The safest place for the officer, the safest place for the individual, the safest place for the citizens around them is to take this person to the ground where he can't hit, or kick or strike anybody.”

Armstrong was booked for obstructing the legal process, interfering with a peace officer and unlawfully occupying transit without paying fare.

Minnesota's use of force policy states the severity of the crime at issue should be considered in determining what force is reasonable under the circumstances.  Meanwhile, Armstrong has retained a lawyer he says will be pursuing legal action against Metro Transit.


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