MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – St Paul Mayor Melvin Carter demanded an internal police investigation into the arrest of a 13-year-old black girl, after video showing her shrieking and struggling as two white, male officers try to handcuff her sparked an angry backlash on social media.
Carter called the video of the September 26 arrest “deeply disturbing” in a statement late on Wednesday.
The arrest didn’t draw much attention until the footage was posted on Facebook the day after the arrest and then shared by a prominent civil rights attorney this week.
“This is absolutely disgusting treatment of an 11-year-old Black girl at the hands of two white male St Paul police officers,” the attorney, Nekima Levy Armstrong, wrote in sharing the video.
“Why was all of this manhandling of a young girl necessary? This child is not property. I am appalled.”
Helen Dillman, the woman who shot and posted the video that Armstrong shared, told the St Paul Pioneer Press that the girl told her she was 11.
But police say the girl, who has an extensive juvenile record, is 13.
Carter told reporters on Thursday that the video is “disheartening to watch”. “We prioritise the trust, we greatly value the trust that our officers have worked hard to earn from St Paul residents,” Carter said.
He added that he has asked for a “thorough and timely and transparent investigation so that we can get to the bottom of what occurred.”
Police didn’t immediately respond to the mayor’s statement. Spokesman Steve Linders said that officers were investigating a report of juveniles trying to break into vehicles when they encountered the girl, and she resisted arrest and refused orders to put her hands behind her back.
“It can be difficult to watch an arrest take place,” Linders said.
One of the officers, Alexander Graham, is the subject of an internal affairs investigation, but it’s not clear if it’s related to the girl’s arrest, the St Paul Pioneer Press reported.
Linders said he is prohibited by state law from discussing that investigation.
Graham initially saw the girl in the parking lot of a gas station from which she had been banned until August 2020 because she had been “a chronic problem” there, according to Linders.