MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - There are calls for a Minneapolis police officer to be disciplined after a viral social media video shows a physical struggle as he tries to arrest a 64-year-old man in an Aldi store.
The video begins as a Minneapolis police officer whose name tag says C. Lange grabs the man - who identifies himself as Troy Lee Billups - by the collar and throws him into a counter. The two then struggle for about a minute and a half on the ground during which time Billups tells the officer multiple times not to touch him as he resists arrest.
When a bystander asks Lange why Billups is being arrested, Lange responds: "because he's obstructing."
The incident took place Wednesday evening around 6 p.m., at the Aldi on East Franklin. The video was posted that night, and as of Saturday morning has been seen over 100,000 times.
In the video, the officer claims that Billups was fighting with another person, but Billups disagrees. "We weren't fighting, we was talking," he tells the officer. Earlier, a voice off-camera says to the officer that "it's two people having a conversation and you escalated the situation by shoving him."
The officer and Billups then go outside, and the video shows Lange confronting him about the alleged altercation leading up to the incident. Billups says again that the he was just talking to another person, and told them not to touch him. Lange then arrests Billups.
He was arrested and booked for obstructing the legal process with force.
Racial Justice Network, a grassroots organization led by former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NCAAP Nekima Levy-Armstrong, says "It is clear that Officer Lange's excessive force escalated a situation that called for de-escalation." The group is demanding that "immediate disciplinary action against Officer Christopher Lange" is taken, whether that be putting him on administrative leave until the situation is investigated, or firing him.
Minneapolis police say the incident has been referred to the Office of Police Conduct Review. "Department policy and training continues to emphasize the importance of de-escalation efforts to stabilize and resolve situations when safe and feasible," police told WCCO.
The video is posted at at a time when Mayor Jacob Frey is requesting an additional $27 million in funds for the Minneapolis Police Department, which has struggled with staffing shortages over the past two years.
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