TACOMA, Wash. - Investigators on Friday released new details in the case of a Tacoma police officer who drove through a crowd of people while responding to calls about an illegal street race in January.
Authorities now say they have identified six people who may have been hit by the patrol car. They have interviewed three of them.
Investigators with the Pierce County Force Investigation Team said they have received 33 tips about the incident. The tips have resulted in more interviews and additional video from Jan. 23.
Members of the investigation team have processed the Tacoma Police vehicles involved and are getting support from the Washington State Patrol Crime Response Team and the Metro Cities Major Collision Response Team.
Authorities said the investigation continues, but they wanted to provide these new details now.
They believe more there are more witnesses who have not come forward. Anyone who witnessed what happened or has video is asked to call the Puyallup Police Department Tip Line at 253-770-3343.
Protest erupts over police car driving through crowd
Protesters set a large fire, damaged buildings and marched with signs on Jan. 24 in response to a police car driving through a crowd in Washington state the day before, leaving at least two people injured.
The demonstrators gathered near the intersection in Tacoma where the police car plowed through a crowd of pedestrians while responding to a reported street race Saturday evening. Video of the incident was widely shared online and appeared to show at least one person being run over.
Both injured people went to hospitals with injuries not life threatening.
Demonstrators gathered at a park, then marched through downtown where windows were shattered and spray paint was tagged on multiple buildings. Several items were set up to create a barricade in the street where a large trash can was set ablaze. The demonstrators also passed by the Pierce County Jail.
There were no known injuries from the demonstration, police said in a tweet, adding that the protest was cleared around 11 p.m.
The officer involved in the incident is a 58-year-old man who has been with the department for 29 1/2 years, Tacoma police said. He had been surrounded by a crowd after arriving at the reported street race. People began hitting the body of the cruiser, and the officer feared for his safety. The officer drove forward through the crowd, and then stopped and called for medical aid, police said.
The officer was placed on paid administrative leave.
Protesters told news outlets they want the officer to be fired, and criticized the city for what they said was a lack of transparency.
The Pierce County Force Investigation Team is looking into Saturday’s incident. The team is comprised of law enforcement officials from around the county and community representatives.
Police additionally said Sunday that while officers were observing the protest, three people appeared to try to get onto the roof of a building downtown. Two were armed with a handgun and knives and were arrested. The third got away.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.