TACOMA, Wash. - The Tacoma Police Union has some harsh words for city leaders who are questioning police actions following a police cruiser incident Saturday night that injured at least two people.
"Due process means nothing to city leaders," the union said in a news release.
The Tacoma community has been divided in the days after a police officer responding to a report of a street race plowed his car through a crowd of pedestrians that had gathered around him and were pounding on the car’s windows.
Video posted on social media shows the police car hitting several people and running over at least one person. Interim Police Chief Mike Ake said this week that the officer, 58-year-old Khanh Phan, feared for his safety.
While some local officials have focused on the growing concern over illegal street racing, others, like Deputy Mayor Keith Blocker, argue the problem is with policing.
The Pierce County Force Investigation Team is conducting an independent investigation into the events that took place.
"With one hand, the city touts that it called for an independent investigation of the incident that occurred downtown Saturday night. With the other hand, the city passes judgment on the involved officer and all Tacoma police officers by again implying wrongdoing and criminality spurred by racist tendencies," the union's statement reads.
"Enough. The involved officer — a decorated 30-year officer and member of the Tacoma community with a stellar record who hails from Southeast Asia — is not a racist criminal. He is a human and a dedicated public servant who reacted to a violent mob trying to do him harm."
The union is calling for city officials to refrain from judgment until the independent investigation is complete.
"Let them obtain information from officers on scene who were trying to address a violent crowd that had just engaged in repeated and wanton criminal activity in the heart of the city. Let them speak to civilians who endured a mob of street racers unleashing havoc in our streets.
"To the city’s leaders: let due process run its course. Stop sacrificing dedicated public servants at the altar of mob rule for political expediency. To our community: thank you for your support. Throughout all this, know that we will continue to serve you with honor and integrity in keeping our city safe."
No arrests were made in connection with the illegal street racing Saturday night because of the "chaotic" scene, Chief Ake said, but three people were later arrested for destructive protests that followed.