NAACP Calls For Independent Investigation Of Metro Transit Officer

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Draon Armstrong understands that he violated the law by not paying a $1.75 fare for riding the train. But he doesn’t understand why a Metro Transit officer threw him to the ground while arresting him.

“I was complying with him. I didn’t have nothing on me. I don’t understand why I was treated like that. And he pulled out my hair too and my hairs don’t pull out easily,” Armstrong said as he tugged on his dreadlocks. “So you got to yank it.”

“The way police treat young black men is not fair. We have to deal this constantly being profiled ”

Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds called the use of force against Armstrong unacceptable and demanded the Metropolitan Council “conduct a thorough, independent investigation into this matter,” as well as “reform the policing practices and policies that would allow the type of abuse.”

Video of arrest

A video of the arrest shows Armstrong standing still while being handcuffed. Suddenly the officer forces Armstrong to the ground.

Professor Jason Sole, chair of the Minneapolis NAACP Criminal Justice Reform Committee said Armstrong “did not deserve to get what he received on that platform.”

Sole says the problem with Metro Transit police is not limited to this incident.

“I’ve been going to Metro Transit for a number of years and I say years telling them to fix what their officers are doing and they just shrug it off.”

Sole has witnessed the problem first hand. “Even last year they threatened me with arrest as I stood up for 15 African-Americans who were being threatened and intimidated with officers who had on black gloves and holding zip ties threatening to arrest 15 African-Americans. We’re sick of this we’re tired of it. We cannot go on like this and we should not feel like we have to fight this alone. We need Met Council to step up and create radical criminal justice reform.”

Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington has offered to discuss the incident with the NAACP, but NAACP officials said they would like to deal directly with the Met Council which oversees Metro Transit to resolve the issue.

Video at top: highlights of NAACP press conference
Video below: Entire NAACP press conference


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Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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