Witness to Tacoma police officer driving through crowd speaks out

Police investigate in downtown Tacoma on Saturday night. (AP)

Many have been talking about the graphic video that showed a Tacoma police officer driving out of a group of people crowded around his car during a street racing event in Tacoma on Saturday night.

It has become a flashpoint for some activists with regards to how the officer acted and police accountability issues in general. One of the claimed organizers of the event contacted the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to give their side of what happened.

“We organize these events for people in the car community to come together and, you know, do our thing, show our skills, because tracks are expensive. … We met, had our plans out, had a couple of 100 people there, and we wanted to have a good night like we usually do. And I want to point this out, Jason, rule number one is safety. … We don’t want anyone to get hurt at these events,” he said.

Tacoma police car seen driving into crowd at street race downtown

“We went to the address on Ninth Avenue, and we were there for a good couple of minutes, like 15 minutes. And then the cop came. What we usually do is try to push the cop back, like we don’t do anything violent, so I don’t know why the media is making it seem like we did anything violent. We surrounded the cop car, … but we weren’t pounding on him.”

The organizer claims that they were only in front of the Tacoma police car, not in back, and that the cop could have gone backward instead of driving forward, and could have handled it differently.

“The car was there for a good three minutes. … The cop proceeded to back up. And I don’t know why he didn’t continue to back up. No one was behind him. No one was surrounding the car, so for him to go forward doesn’t make sense. And for him to do any of that — he could have called it in, he could have made a different decision,” he said.

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Jason argued that based on the video he’s seen, people were allegedly pounding on the cop car, and a window was shattered on the car.

“So when you say there was no one pounding on the vehicle,” Jason asked, “presumably you point that out because you believe that that might potentially be a defense for an officer to fear for their safety?”

“Yeah, I totally agree with you,” the organizer responded. “If people were banging on the thing, I would fear for my safety, too.”

But he says that he didn’t see people pounding on the cop car, that they were only around the car, so Jason replied: “By the way, you shouldn’t be surrounding a cop car. But I’m telling you that the video that I’ve seen shows people pounding on the car. Assuming for a moment that that is true, based upon that information, will you change your position instead of saying the cop acted incorrectly, that at least you understand why the cop did what he did?”

“I don’t agree with that because he shouldn’t have run into that crowd,” the organizer said. “He should have done what every cop does during these events: He calls for backup. Never has this happened. Ever, ever, ever.”

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