A group of cars performing stunts at an intersection in Tacoma, Washington lead to police arriving at the location. It culminated in a police SUV plowing through the crowd of spectators.
Several people were struck and at least one person was run over by the police cruiser.
Saturday's incident was caught on video by bystanders from different vantage points.
One of the videos showed the police vehicle revving its engine and briefly backing up before ramming through the screaming spectators that had surrounded the SUV.
WARNING: Graphic footage.
Tonight Tacoma Police squad car, ran over a group of car spectators,downtown Tacoma on Pacific ave around 6:30 p.m.… https://t.co/0lWtNbiAcc— Libertad Sam (@Libertad Sam)1611461321.0
Other videos showed the stunt cars performing doughnuts before police arrived.
The Tacoma police said they received calls about an erratic driver and street racing happening in the South 900 Block of Pacific Avenue around 6:19 p.m. Officer Wendy Haddow of the Tacoma Police Department said responding officers tried to clear a crowd of around 100 people from the intersection.
A group of people tightened in on a police cruiser at the scene and reportedly began hitting the vehicle's windows.
Haddow said the driving officer feared for his safety which prompted them to ram the crowd and drive away.
This is the police vehicle that ran through the crowd in downtown Tacoma tonight (car #2815). I was taking some pho… https://t.co/xpxud71cHc— Lore Klimek (@Lore Klimek)1611480019.0
According to Q13 FOX, the Pierce County Investigation Team took the lead on the incident.
Interim Police Chief Mike Ake issued a statement saying he was "concerned that our department is experiencing another use of deadly force incident."
"I send my thoughts to anyone who was injured in tonight's event, and am committed to our Department's full cooperation in the independent investigation and to assess the actions of the department's response during the incident."
Capt. Dan Pashon of the Puyallup Police Department is leading the investigation looking into the officer who was behind the wheel.
Pashon said two people were taken to the hospital and one has since been released.
While he had no updates on the person who was run over by the SUV, he did say it was believed the victim did not suffer life-threatening injuries.
The disturbing footage left many people shook on Twitter.
This is one of the most disturbing videos of a police vehicle literally running over people. No excuse for plowing… https://t.co/gVpkxgCatQ— Imraan Siddiqi (@Imraan Siddiqi)1611467823.0
@jasonjgauthier Ok. So. Watched all the videos I could of this... those cars are equipped with speakers to announce… https://t.co/J9LSAnTusR— Raayven🏳️🌈 (@Raayven🏳️🌈)1611482614.0
@jasonjgauthier Everyone saying “it’s totally justified for the cop to run over all those people.” No. No it’s not.… https://t.co/Qqi80bz6fK— Katelyn O (@Katelyn O)1611527732.0
@jasonjgauthier @toastycynical This is a hard pill to swallow but here it goes: The police should have chosen to n… https://t.co/KLn7eHIAPB— Professor Flowers (@Professor Flowers)1611502865.0
@jasonjgauthier The people doing burnouts absolutely needed to be cited. Don’t think the police should be running o… https://t.co/HBUD1cyFU7— Mike’s Tweeting Account (@Mike’s Tweeting Account)1611464230.0
According to Buzzfeed News, an eyewitness named Mark said he was out for dinner with friends and went to have a cigarette when he noticed the commotion on the street.
Mark described what he saw.
"It looked like the crowd of people that were involved in the rally ... all swarmed toward the police car, it seemed to stop the car, and give an opportunity for the drivers to get away."
He commented on the crowd's reaction when the SUV plowed forward.
"People were screaming and yelling, 'Tacoma Police just ran someone over!'"
Cory Le, another witness who filmed the chaos, told Reuters:
"People were messing with the cops, yelling at the cops, shouting at the cops, and then the car reversed and drove full speed into the crowd."
One woman on the scene told KIRO-TV:
"I was shocked, I was shaken, I was confused, I was scared. This officer just ran this group of people over and then fled the scene."
"I want justice for the people who just got injured."
At least one person was led away in handcuffs.
There’s a crowd of protesters (about 2 dozen) at the scene of where a TPD car ran over a person, after police say -… https://t.co/lOUwJMU1v5— AJ Janavel (@AJ Janavel)1611467003.0
The demonstrations continued on Sunday night.
A group of protesters have blocked the street at 9th and Pacific where yesterday’s incident happened. They also set… https://t.co/qVcDvx6BFc— AJ Janavel (@AJ Janavel)1611547991.0
Protesters set a large fire, damaged buildings and marched with signs in response to a police car driving through a… https://t.co/Ab9EoGCN29— News 10 (@News 10)1611595800.0
Things are getting heated near the spot where a @TacomaPD officer is accused of running over a man. Just about 20 f… https://t.co/2uarQ3GclE— Ryan Simms (@Ryan Simms)1611466995.0
Tacoma Police said the officer behind the wheel was a 58-year-old man who had been with the Tacoma Police Department for nearly 30 years.
The unnamed officer was placed on paid administrative leave per department policy.
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards responded on Sunday with the following statement:
"For those who woke up this morning feeling outrage, frustration, grief, heartbreak, or confusion, I understand and honor your feelings. I, too, am deeply saddened by what we saw last night.
As a use of deadly force, this incident is being taken very seriously and the scene has appropriately been turned over to the Pierce County Force Investigation Team for independent investigation. As we learn the facts of the case, I have called on the City Manager and Police Chief to ensure that everyone involved is held accountable.
While we await more information, I want the community to know that I am deeply concerned and praying for everyone who was impacted by last night's events.
I continue to be proud of Tacoma's long-standing reputation as a place of strong, non-violent advocacy and activism. I continue to support your right to use your voice to advocate and demonstrate peacefully during this time of heightened tension.
I know our community's resiliency continues to be tested. I also know that we are strong and that we will get through this together."