[WARNING: Video contains strong language.]
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The West St. Paul Police Department is addressing a controversial arrest video that shows a man being arrested for not giving identification, saying the video “does not tell the whole story” and has resulted in some death threats to its officers.
A YouTube video called “Illegal arrest unlawful detainment”, uploaded on July 4, shows an interaction between a man and a police officer on June 7. In the video, the officer is seen asking the man repeatedly for the ID, which the man resists, saying he did no crime that would warrant the request.
The incident occurred after two officers were invited to a gathering and cookout at a nearby apartment complex that included many young children. In the video, the officer questions why the man was “watching all the kids.”
The man is eventually arrested, but later released. He was later charged with obstructing the legal process and possession of drug paraphernalia.
While being arrested, the man says he’s being harassed and says he did nothing wrong.
“I do not need an ID to be on the sidewalk on a sunny day,” the man is heard saying. “I did nothing wrong. I committed no crime.”
West St. Paul police say since the video has been uploaded, the department has received numerous phone calls and messages through social media about the officer’s conduct – including some inflammatory comments that include death threats to officers.
“As is often the case, this clip does not tell the whole story. We would like to clear that up,” police said in a statement.
The department goes on to say that the man was seen riding a bike on the apartment complex grounds, watching the crowd that included many children, and that he was riding around for some time “with no apparent purpose.”
Police say the officer believed there was an active arrest warrant for the man.
“Based on the belief that there was an active arrest warrant for this individual, the suspicious nature of his presence and past criminal background, one of the officers initiated an interaction with him,” police said.
Police say that, however, the active warrant was not yet available on the computer database, so the man was released and later charged with the aforementioned counts of obstructing the legal process and possession of drug paraphernalia.
“The following day, June 8th, officers were able to confirm that there was indeed an active felony arrest warrant that was as issued earlier in the day on the 7th but had not yet been entered into the database. This warrant was one of just 8 warrants that were issued for this individual since May 17th of this year,” police said.
Police say the department “has policies and procedures in effect that include reviews of actions taken by our officers to ensure compliance with state statutes and policies.”