While aiming his handgun at a suspect on the pavement in a Brooklyn Center parking lot, a police officer screamed, “I’ll put two in the back of your head if you move again,” according to a brief video posted online Tuesday.
That command has police looking into the incident, with Chief Tim Gannon saying that such “threatening language is never appropriate or acceptable.”
In a three-paragraph statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Gannon said his department was alerted to the Facebook video capturing the Tuesday encounter between the officer and the suspect in the parking lot of Wal-Mart at 1200 Shingle Creek Crossing. (The video was later removed from public viewing.)
Gannon described the suspect as someone “wanted in a crime and ... actively evading law enforcement.”
Authorities later identified the man involved in the incident as Rease Joseph William Foye-Finch, 19. He was wanted on suspicion of failure to appear in court on charges of fleeing police on foot, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and theft. Jail records show he is now in the custody of authorities there.
In the 61-second video, shot about 2:20 p.m. from behind a car in the lot, the officer approached a vehicle and ordered Foye-Finch to get down on the ground as he exited out a passenger-side door.
“Don’t move,” the officer told Foye-Finch, who appears to be facedown on the pavement.
“Don’t reach for anything!” the officer yelled, his gun still trained on the man, who appeared compliant during the entire time of the video being record. “You wanna get shot? Don’t reach for anything. Don’t move. I’ll put two in the back of your head if you move again, you understand me? Don’t move.”
Before the Facebook video was removed, it had been viewed more than 45,000 times in the first 24 hours since it was posted, attracting 150-plus comments that run the gamut.
“Nice work by that officer,” one person posted. “Try putting yourself in his shoes for once.”
“These officers are just bullies,” another commenter wrote about 10 minutes later.
Gannon wrote in his statement that “while the use of a forceful command may be necessary to ensure the safety of both the person being given the command and the officer, threatening language is never appropriate or acceptable. We take all matters of conduct by our officers seriously.”
Gannon said the officer’s squad car camera captured part of the incident.
“We appreciate the public’s patience while we thoroughly review and evaluate the incident,” Gannon’s statement concluded.