MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis police department on Friday was reviewing use of force by its officers after their attempt to clear out a homeless encampment led to a violent clash between officers and civilians who tried to stop them.
Five people were arrested and five officers suffered minor injuries Thursday, according to police. Dozens of people had showed up at the camp in response to social media posts by several activists that the city planned to clear the camp where about 20 people live in tents.
A group called MNUprising shared a video on Twitter showing several officers trying to pull someone off another officer laying on the ground. Then it appears an officer tries to restrain that person by kneeling on that person’s neck or upper back.
The clash came as a jury is being seated for the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer in George Floyd’s death last May. Derek Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd, a Black man who was declared dead after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against his neck for about nine minutes.
In June, Minneapolis agreed to ban chokeholds and neck restraints by police as it worked to remake the city’s police force following Floyd’s death.
The police department’s Internal Affairs Unit is reviewing the use of force by officers in Thursday’s clash, as is customary following use-of-force incidents. Chief Medaria Arradondo said Thursday, however, that he wouldn’t tolerate people assaulting police officers.
“From the limited video that I have seen, I was appalled by the actions of those community members that attacked my officers,” Arradondo said. “I am thankful that they were not seriously injured.”
The fight had broken out between officers and civilians, who shoved back and forth, some of which is captured on a social media video, before officers pepper-sprayed a line of people and made some arrests.
During Thursday’s melee, a woman jumped on the back of an officer and began to choke him, and other people continued to surround the officers, police said.