A Minneapolis Police Department internal affairs investigation is underway after an officer was caught on video punching a teenager Wednesday evening.
A portion of the clash between officers and civilians was recorded on video as it unfolded near N. 32nd and James avenues following a police pursuit of a carjacking involving multiple suspects that began in New Hope and sliced through Robbinsdale before reaching north Minneapolis, said Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.
A grassroots activist group released a nearly four-minute video on Facebook of the incident and contended that while one Black teenager was being arrested, "five officers surrounded another Black teenager, with two of them holding him, and another large white male police officer winding up and taking a full swing punch to the teenager's head."
The Racial Justice Network called for the Minneapolis officers involved to be fired and added in its news release that one of them "delivered a severe blow to the head of the teenager. … This violent action could have resulted in death or serious bodily injury."
The group did not specify what injuries, if any, the teen suffered. "We haven't gotten those details yet," said its spokesman, Pete Gamades.
"That's not the first time that that type of declaration has been made," the chief said Thursday in reference to the call for firings. "Each case is very different. You have to let the investigation [proceed], and I have to receive information. … At this time, there has been no decision, and this just obviously occurred last night."
Arradondo said the carjacking suspect was arrested as well as the person who was punched.
The video shows Minneapolis and Robbinsdale police attempting to put one of the handcuffed teenagers in the back of a squad car while the crowd surrounding them grows increasingly agitated.
"He just carjacked somebody," one Minneapolis officer said to the crowd.
"He didn't carjack nobody, it don't matter," said the person recording the video.
The teen was eventually walked away from the squad as the crowd followed. The video then pivots away to a scuffle involving a different teenager in a hoodie. He's surrounded by officers and one appears to throw a punch, striking the teen in the head before he is taken to the ground by several Minneapolis officers.
Mayor Jacob Frey said the "case has already been submitted to our internal affairs division." He otherwise declined to comment.
The incident is the second encounter in as many weeks involving a video-recorded scuffle between Minneapolis police and civilians.
On March 18, officers and civilians shoved back and forth when police arrived to clear a homeless encampment just west of downtown. Some of the conflict was captured on a social media video before officers pepper-sprayed a line of people and forcibly arrested a few. The officers drove away within a half-hour of arrival.
Police say 25 to 30 people were "actively challenging" officers and pushing against their line with one person attacking an officer and resisting arrest. During the melee, a woman jumped on the back of an officer and began to choke him, and others continued to surround the officers, police said.
A soundless, 30-second video shared on social media shows police hitting and trying to pull someone off an officer who is on the ground. An officer then appears to put a knee on the back of the neck and head of the person before the video cuts out.
Arradondo said last week that he won't tolerate people assaulting officers. "From the limited video that I have seen, I was appalled by the actions of those community members that attacked my officers," he said. "I am thankful that they were not seriously injured."
Two people were charged with various gross misdemeanors in connection with the hand-to-hand combat: Shyanne M. Redlin, 24, of St. Paul, and Clayton A. Hill, 27, of Leon, Iowa. The charges for both include assaulting a police officer, obstruction of law enforcement and disorderly conduct. Both were jailed and later released. Neither was immediately available to respond to the allegations.
Redlin is accused of being the protester who jumped on the officer's back. At one point, she tried to grab his duty belt and put him in a chokehold until he fell to the ground, according to the charges.
Hill is accused of injuring an officer while the two wrestled on the ground. After Hill's arrest, police seized a 4.5-inch knife from him, the charges said.
Staff writer Susan Du contributed to this report.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482