A local activist group is accusing Minneapolis police of pepper spraying and assaulting multiple people while two of its members attempted to film the cops arresting a teenager Wednesday night. The Black Liberation Project, which has held protests in connection with nationwide police killings of black men and women, made the claims via its Twitter and Facebook pages Thursday.
According to the group’s statement, the two members “made an impromptu decision” to film officers who had stopped a black teenager riding his bike in north Minneapolis. “While filming this interaction, BLP members and other community members were pepper sprayed, physically assaulted, and/or thrown to the ground,” it claims.
Two of our members were brutalized while filming MPD as they detained and arrested a teenager in North Minneapolis.
Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder was out of the office Thursday, but said he was unaware of the incident. Black Liberation Project would not comment further.
The group states that four people were arrested, including the boy, his father, and one of its members. Citing a police report, the Star Tribune writes that at 10:42 p.m. Wednesday cops spotted the 16-year-old on a bike crossing Lyndale Avenue North near West Broadway. The boy was allegedly “interfering with traffic and causing vehicles to stop.” At one point the boy rode in front of the officers’ squad car while it was turning.
After the boy was ordered to stop several times, he continued riding east on 21st Avenue. Eventually, the cops cut the boy off with their car, but he refused to get off his bike. When an officer grabbed his arm, the boy “tensed up in a manner that he was about to fight” and the cop took him “down to the ground,” according to the report.
The Strib notes there was no mention of pepper spray or anyone filming in the police report, but it stated “a crowd formed around the officers and became hostile.”
A spokesperson for Mayor Betsy Hodges said their office knew of the incident, but declined to discuss the details.
Per the Strib, the teen was arrested under suspicion of obstructing the legal process and three others were arrested for rioting and released from jail Thursday.