The mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, is demanding a police investigation after shocking video of a young Black teenager being violently arrested by police surfaced online last week.
According to local station WCCO, the girl now faces a charge of assault.
The video was posted to social media Friday and shows two St. Paul police officers pinning an African-American girl to the ground inside a UPS store, one of them placing a knee in her back she struggles to get free. Meanwhile, a third officer appears to place his leg near the young woman’s head.
“This video is deeply disturbing to watch,” Mayor Melvin Carter said in a statement Thursday. “I have asked Chief [Todd] Axtell to launch a formal Internal Affairs investigation into the circumstances surrounding this arrest as soon as possible.”
The incident unfolded Sept. 26 as police responded to a report of juveniles breaking into cars in the area, Minneapolis station KARE 11 reported. That’s when officers encountered the teen, who they said was already wanted for allegedly violating a trespassing order at a BP gas station.
The girl, 13, had previously been banned from the area, which St. Paul police described as a “hotbed of criminal activity.”
In an incident report, authorities said the teenager fled the gas station and assaulted officers when they tried to apprehend her. A witness filmed part of the arrest at nearby UPS store, where officers caught up with the suspect after she reportedly scratched and punched an officer.
In the video, police are heard instructing her to roll onto her stomach so they can handcuff her. However, she refuses and continues resisting and screaming. That’s when another officer steps in to put her in restraints.
Refusing to walk on her own, officers are forced to carry the young woman outside to a waiting cop car. This week, the county district attorney’s office charged her with fourth-degree assault in connection to her arrest.
Video of the incident sparked strong reactions among social media users, including the teen’s mother, Davida Conover, who said she was “totally disgusted” after seeing the arrest video on Facbook. Conover told WCCO that her daughter struggles with mental illness, and noted officers were aware of that because they’ve interacted with her in the past.
“It really breaks my heart,” she said, criticizing the”aggressive” behavior by police. “Nobody should be treated like that.”
Conover alleged that one of the arresting officers has mistreated her daughter before.
As the investigation is underway, Mayor Carter urged the public not to jump to conclusions until all the facts are known.
“I believe in our justice process and I believe we shouldn’t rush to judgment either around the minor child involved in the incident nor the officers involved in the incident,” Carter said. “And this is why I’ve asked for a thorough, timely and transparent investigation, so that we can get to the bottom of what occurred.”
Following her arrest, the teen was taken to juvenile detention facility. She’s scheduled to appear in court Nov. 14.
Watch more in the video below.