Minneapolis opens internal investigation into officer's alleged punch during carjacking arrest

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said an internal investigation is underway after a video circulating on social media appears to show a police officer punching a person who was being detained. 

The Wednesday night incident began with a "violent felony carjacking" in New Hope, according to Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. Officers with the Robbinsdale Police Department located the suspect vehicle and eventually stopped it near the 3200 block of James Avenue North in Minneapolis. 

"Once Robbinsdale was conducting their stop to try to bring those individuals into custody, at some point in time a help call was toned and so MPD officers arrived to assist," Arradondo said. "At some point in time, they needed to make sure one of the individuals out there, the suspects, could get some medical attention. Because of the crowd, they needed to get him out of the area to get that treatment." 

Josh Ommart lives on the corner of N 33rd Ave and N James Ave. He said he had been outside for a smoke and says he was just feet away when it all happened.

"And I see an officer who was huge swing on a kid and then put his knee into his face," said Ommart.

It’s unclear what led to use of force. Witnesses say those apprehended in the video were not suspects.

"I could have told them I witnessed the suspects run past me and all three of them are not them," said Ommart.

"It does not matter if they were the carjackers, which they were not, but if they were that is no excuse to treat someone like they did," said Billie Jean Van Knight of the Racial Justice Network.

Both the mayor and the police chief confirmed the city is investigating the officer’s use of force in the incident. 

"The case has already been submitted to our internal affairs division," Frey said. "There is already an investigation that is underway." 

In response to the video, which has been shared tens of thousands of times on social media, activists gathered outside the 4th Precinct Thursday afternoon, calling for the termination of the officers allegedly involved in the incident.

"I challenge Frey and Arradondo to fire all the officers that were engaged in police brutality and violence yesterday, they need to be gone now," said Toussaint Morrison, a community organizer.

Arradondo addressed community concerns regarding the incident, asking them to "allow us the time to conduct a thorough investigation." 

The chief confirmed the suspect in the case was taken into custody. No additional information regarding the incident was released by the Minneapolis Police Department.