Two hurt as police officer plows car through crowd at Tacoma street race

This article is more than 1 month old
  • Police vehicle seen hitting several people, running over one
  • Department says officer feared for own safety
Tacoma police and other law enforcement officers stand in an intersection in downtown Tacoma, Washington.
Tacoma police and other law enforcement officers stand in an intersection in downtown Tacoma, Washington. Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP
Tacoma police and other law enforcement officers stand in an intersection in downtown Tacoma, Washington. Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP
Associated Press in Tacoma, Washington

Last modified on Sun 24 Jan 2021 13.05 EST

At least two people were injured when a police officer responding to a report of a street race plowed his car through a crowd of pedestrians who were pounding on the car’s windows in downtown Tacoma, Washington, on Saturday night, officials said.

The incident happened just before 7pm as about 100 people blocked an intersection and watched several cars spinning in circles, police told the News Tribune of Tacoma.

A police car arrived, then drove through the crowd after people tried to block the vehicle, a witness said. Video posted on social media showed the police car hitting several people and running over at least one person.

Tacoma police spokesperson Wendy Haddow told the newspaper police were notified shortly after 6pm of the street racers. Haddow said a responding officer used his car’s bullhorn to address the crowd, which then began pounding on his windows.

“The officer, fearing for his safety, tried to back up, but was unable to do so because of the crowd,” Tacoma police said in a statement. That prompted the officer to speed away from the scene for his own safety, police said.

One person sustained cuts and was taken to a hospital, Haddow said. Puyallup police captain Dan Pashon told KCPQ-TV a second person was treated at the hospital and released.

City manager Elizabeth Pauli said the officer involved would be placed on leave and the Pierce county force investigation team would handle the case.

Interim police chief Mike Ake said he was concerned about another “use of deadly force incident”, and promised his department’s full cooperation in the investigation.