Here is the dramatic video showing showing the arrest of a black man by an Edina police officer that have many saying the citizen was a victim of racial profiling and police brutality.
Witness Janet Rowels recorded the incident ans stated:
“I witnessed and videoed this earlier today. I passed by a man who was walking on the white line of the shoulder of the street. There was construction and it was obvious that the sidewalk was not available right there so he was hugging the right side as far as he could go. I went around him and noticed in my rearview mirror that an unmarked SUV turned on police lights. The officer pulled in front of the pedestrian to cut him off and proceeded to accuse him of walking in the middle of the street. I have posted a portion of the video that leads up to my giving an officer my address and phone number, which I’d rather were not posted on youtube.”
The NAACP released the following statement regarding the incident:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Nekima Levy-Pounds
October 15, 2016
Minneapolis NAACP Demands Accountability from Edina Police for Mistreatment of Black Pedestrian
On Wednesday, October 12th, Edina police officer, Tim Olson, mistreated and accosted a black pedestrian, Mr. Larnie Thomas, as shown in a video recorded by Janet Rowles that has been viewed more than 100,000 times since then. The dehumanizing and degrading way in which Mr. Thomas was treated by Edina police merely reinforces the urgent need for police reform in the State of Minnesota and across this nation.
“Watching that video and seeing a black man being manhandled and emasculated by Edina Police was not only painful and humiliating, it was a vivid reminder that blacks are still too-often seen as second class citizens in the State of Minnesota and in this nation. At any time, our rights can be violated by police and then various laws and policies are used to justify their conduct, rather than to hold them accountable. It is sad to say, but that man in the video could easily have been the next #PhilandoCastile or #JamarClark, two unarmed black men who were killed by police within the last year. When will we say #EnoughisEnough?, said Nekima Levy-Pounds, civil rights attorney and President of the Minneapolis NAACP.
According to eyewitness, Janet Rowles, a white woman who bravely recorded the incident, the actions of the officer(s) in question was unwarranted. Here’s what she had to say:
“I began videoing the incident because I felt that the pedestrian might be safer with my presence as a recording witness. There was absolutely no reason for the officer to stop him from walking. I easily passed him in my vehicle because he was hugging the right side next to the construction, literally walking on the white line that marks the shoulder. I have no interest in vilifying the police, but obviously I got out of my car in the first place because I perceive the pedestrian might not get treated fairly because of his ethnicity. There is now much controversy over the time that elapsed between when the incident began and when I started to video. I remember it to be much shorter than the police state, but I feel this is somewhat irrelevant because he never should have been stopped in the first place. We share the road all the time with bicyclists, people opening car doors, etc. The officer could have slowed to warn him he might be in danger by being on the white line and suggesting a better place for him to walk, but stopping to try to exert control over him was overzealous. His saying twice (on the video) that the pedestrian was walking down the middle of the street is an absolute falsehood. Also, I am disappointed to see that the officer who wrote down about ten words that I told him, managed to quote me as saying many, many things on the police report- some of which are completely untrue.”
When confronted with concerns surrounding the mistreatment and handling of Mr. Thomas, Edina Police double-downed on their justification for the incident, failed to acknowledge any wrong-doing or violations of departmental policies and procedures, and failed to issue an apology to Mr. Thomas, as well as to the public at-large. “The response by Edina Police is unacceptable and warrants that further steps be taken to ensure accountability for police misconduct and a repairing of the harm that was caused to the individual and to the broader community. Those officers need to be retrained and there must be accountability to restore public trust, said Professor Jason Sole, Chair, Criminal Justice Reform Committee of Minneapolis NAACP.
In light of the egregious nature of this incident, the Minneapolis NAACP makes the following demands:
1) That a formal, independent investigation be conducted regarding this incident and whether any departmental protocols or state laws were violated by the officer(s) in questions. The inquiry should also include whether the civil rights and civil liberties of Mr. Thomas;
2) That Officer Tim Olson be suspended without pay, pending the outcome of a formal investigation into this incident;
3) That Edina Police begin collecting race and other demographic data during traffic stops and to use said data in reforming departmental policies and procedures;
4) A formal apology by the Mayor and Police Chief of Edina to Mr. Thomas and the public at-large;
5) Retraining of all Edina Police officers on implicit and explicit bias; and
6) Implementation and adoption of best practices from the report by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, found here: http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/…/taskf…/taskforce_finalreport.pdf
What are your thoughts?