TACOMA - There is mixed reaction to the weekend incident that started with street racing at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and South 9th Street.
A local business owner who requested to remain anonymous witnessed the street racing and police response on Saturday night that escalated into an officer driving through a crowd of people, and sending two people to the hospital.
"I just saw all these people hanging out at cars, spinning around in the middle of the intersection. At 6:30 on Saturday evening in a busy intersection… You’re just breaking the law, I’m sorry," he said.
The business owner also said the officer who showed up didn’t know what he was walking into, and believes the cop had a knee-jerk reaction to a fight or flight situation.
"There was not enough of him, and he realized that he was in a really tough situation and then it escalated so fast he didn’t really have other options," said the business owner. "If he would’ve sat there long enough they would’ve broken his windows and who knows what else. So what would anyone else have done. You’re a human."
Hundreds of comments are being shared on social media, including the Tacoma Police Department’s page.
One commenter, Ja'Nielle Harris, said, "As a lifelong Tacoma resident I support this officer 100% and would've done the same thing!!! Bless you all."
Another comment from Andrew Green said, "Police response to a road takeover totally appropriate. Running down a crowd with a 2.5 ton police cruiser? Not okay at all."
Protests broke out this weekend in a call for police accountability. Jamika Scott of Tacoma Action Collective and Haiku of Tacoma Protest Daily were arrested.
"I’m not going to allow the police to come down here and do these things with no impunity and no accountability. I see that my friends are down here and I come to stand in solidarity with them," said Haiku after he was released.
"Them breaking some windows is not nearly as bad as what that officer did that night," said Scott who was also released from police custody. "Quite frankly, I don’t trust the police. They were left to their own devices when they were with Manuel Ellis and they covered it up."
While both sides have strong opinions about the incident and police officer’s reaction, both sides are also calling for a thorough and transparent investigation.