Minneapolis NAACP wants forceful arrest of $1.75 fare jumper reviewed

The Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP is calling for a “thorough and independent investigation” into the conduct of a Metro Transit police officer during the arrest of a light rail passenger for fare evasion.

"In light of the egregious way in which this young man was treated by the Metro Transit officer, it is incumbent upon the Met Council to initiate a thorough and independent investigation into this incident,” said Minneapolis NAACP attorney Ashley Oliver. “When incidents like this take place, it also creates a much-needed opportunity to review and revise police transit policies and protocols to ensure that no one is ever treated this way again.”

Draon Armstrong was caught riding the light rail near Target Field Station without a ticket. Video captured by Armstrong’s sister shows him being taken to the ground forcefully, but it’s unclear what led up to the officer’s action.

Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington told Fox 9 that while the video looks dramatic, it appears the officer was following department policy.

“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.”

In response, the Minneapolis NAACP said it “will not tolerate officers masking abuse against people of color under the guise of department policy.”

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.

“There are more humane ways to address whether a person has paid the $1.75 fare that should not involve criminalization and police abuse," Oliver said.

NAACP requests

Conduct an independent investigation into the conduct of the Metro Transit police officer in question and issue findings to the public.

Address overarching and persistent concerns surrounding allegations of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment of Black youths and adults by Metro Transit police.

Review and revise Metro Transit policies regarding arrest protocols, dissemination of tickets, and the use of excessive force by Metro Transit officers.

Issue a public response to these concerns.

Watch the video at http://bit.ly/LRTarrest

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