St. Paul mayor calls for investigation into the arrest of 13-year-old girl

A video posted on social media showed St. Paul police arresting at 13-year-old girl. (Facebook)

The St. Paul mayor is calling for a formal investigation into the arrest of a 13-year-old girl after video of the incident was shared on social media. The video, which has now been taken down from Facebook, showed several St. Paul police officers arresting a girl, who was lying on the ground.

"This video is deeply disturbing to watch," read the statement from Mayor Melvin Carter. "I have asked Chief Axtell to launch a formal Internal Affairs investigation into the circumstances surrounding this arrest as soon as possible."

According to the St. Paul police incident report, the incident began Saturday around 6:35 p.m in the 1300 block of University Avenue, where police noticed the girl in the parking lot of the BP gas station. The officer knew the girl had been trespassed from the gas station due to being a "chronic problem on the property," according to St. Paul police. The girl has been arrested previously on suspicion of crimes such as assault, disorderly conduct, car theft and theft.

"The girl who was arrested is well known to officers who work that area. It’s unfortunate that she continues to cause problems in this area of the city—especially at BP, where there have been multiple shootings, robberies and a murder," read a statement from a St. Paul police spokesman.

When the officer tried to approach the girl due to her trespassing order, the girl ran away down the light rail platform, according to police. The officer decided not to follow her in case she ran onto the tracks. 

Later, police received a report of juveniles attempting to open vehicles in a store parking lot. The officer returned to the area and saw the suspects go inside a UPS store on University Avenue. Once inside the store, the officer told the 13-year-old girl she was under arrest and to lay down, but instead "she screamed, 'No,' [and] spun around in an effort to kick the officer," according to police. When the officer tried to control the girl, she started to "scratch and punch" the officer in the head, police say.

The video posted on social media shows the girl struggling with officers on the ground inside the UPS Store on University Avenue. In a Facebook post, the woman who shot the video said the girl came into the store and told people she was scared. The girl told the woman that police were following her because she had been at the BP gas station when she shouldn't have been.

"We know that arresting a person who is physically resisting can be difficult to watch, but we’re thankful that no one was seriously injured," read a statement from a St. Paul police spokesman.

The primary offense listed on the police incident report is felony assault, while secondary offenses include obstructing legal process, fleeing a police officer and trespassing. The report also notes the girl resisted arrest.

The girl's 14-year-old brother was also arrested after he tried to intervene. Both minors were taken to the juvenile detention center.