Folks are outraged and an investigation has since been launched after video footage showed a police officer violently arresting an older Black man at a local grocery store in south Minneapolis earlier this month.
In a nearly 5-minute video, officer Christopher Lange could be seen manhandling 64-year-old Troy Lee Billups and pushing him onto the ground as he tried to arrest the man inside of an Aldi store located on East Franklin Avenue on Wednesday, Dec. 1.
According to the unidentified witness who recorded the incident and later spoke to Fox 9 News, Billups was involved in a nonviolent exchange with a younger man before Lange, who was working off-duty, came over and began shoving the younger of the men.
When Billups asked the officer not to put his hands on him, Lange yelled, “you’re out,” before a tussle ensued.
“What are you doing? You’re supposed to de-escalate. How is this deescalating? How the f-ck is this de-escalating?” the person recording could be heard saying. “What are you doing? Why is he under arrest?”
Several more people soon gathered around and began recording as they pleaded with Lange as he struggled to arrest Billups.
“You escalated the situation. And you made this happen. It’s clear. It’s clear as day. You escalated the situation. It’s two people having a conversation with each other, and you decided to escalate the situation by shoving him. You escalated the situation and you made this happen,” the person recording said.
Lange eventually took the man outside where he was searched. When informed that he was under arrest, the elderly man asked, “For what? I didn’t do nothing. I just told you not to put your hands on him.”
Billups tried to explain himself, telling the officer that he and the other man were not fighting, but instead talking. “We weren’t pushing. We didn’t touch each other. Only I just said, ‘Don’t put your hands on me.’”
He was ultimately placed in handcuffs, charged with obstructing legal process with force, and booked at the Hennepin County Jail. He has since been released without bail and ordered to stay away from that particular store. Prosecutors have also dismissed the case.
An investigation has since been launched into Lange’s behavior after many called for the officer to be disciplined. According to Racial Justice Network, a grassroots organization fighting for racial justice, Lange had been investigated for misconduct five times since 2019.
“It is simply unacceptable to allow an officer with such a history of abuse to continue serving the residents of Minneapolis. His actions were unwarranted, dangerous, and in direct violation of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Policy and Procedure Manual,” RJN said in a statement to Minnesota Spokesman Recorder.
“Yet, multiple squads responded to a low-level incident that was caused by an officer’s violent and unnecessary response. This seems to be a tremendous waste of precious city resources in unwarranted situations,” they added.
In a statement to Fox, Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson Garrett Parten wrote that the “Department policy and training continues to emphasize the importance of de-escalation efforts to stabilize and resolve situations when safe and feasible.”
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