A Richfield police officer who was captured on video hitting a Somali-American teenager has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, the department said Tuesday. The officer’s name was not released.
Kamal Gelle, 19, a U.S. citizen who grew up in Richfield, said the officer treated him “like I was from a different country.”
“He’s doing his job. He has to be firm,” Gelle said Tuesday. “But to push you, to hit you, that’s completely wrong.”
Zack Farah Gets Smacked By 12 �� pic.twitter.com/UZBtWh2ina— Oct. 6th (@MKbandzz) October 4, 2015
Richfield Police Chief Jay Henthorne met Tuesday with Gelle’s family and board members of the Somali Human Rights Commission to discuss the incident.
“The Richfield Police Department takes these complaints very seriously and will continue to conduct a thorough investigation,” the department said in a news release.
Gelle applauded the department’s reaction since the video circulated on Twitter.
“They talked to us respectfully,” he said. “I really appreciate how fast they responded to us.”
The incident occurred about 6:30 p.m. Saturday near Adams Hill Park after police received a phone call about a suspicious person and stopped Gelle’s vehicle.
In the video, an officer shouts at Gelle, shoving him and saying loudly, “Now move when I tell you to!” Gelle doesn’t immediately comply, and the officer shouts, “We’re working right here, so [expletive] move!” The officer then smacks Gelle in the back of the head with an open palm and gives him another shove as the video ends.