The video footage is clear, and hard to watch: a Tacoma Police patrol car running into and through a group of pedestrians.
The 48-second clip, shot shortly before 7 p.m., was shot in the downtown area. The patrol car, surrounded by groups of shouting people, revs its engine and suddenly surges forward, appearing to strike the group and possibly run over individuals before driving on.
Mark, the eyewitness who shot the video and provided it to The News Tribune, saw five to six cars spinning in circles on South 9th Street between the intersections of Court A and Pacific Avenue.
A crowd of three dozen people were gathered around the intersection, cheering on the drivers, Mark said. Traffic through the area came to a standstill.
Mark, who asked that his last name not be used, said a fire truck first went through the intersection, temporarily putting a stop to the action. But the racers and crowd quickly reformed.
Next, a Tacoma police car approached the area from Pacific and South 11th Street. Mark said the police unit took back streets and then came into the scene on South 9th Street from the east. Mark heard a siren but not any voices from the car’s bullhorn.
“A lot of people swarmed in that direction (of the police car),” Mark said. “They were intending to block him.”
The officer backed up about three feet and then suddenly accelerated forward, striking several people and knocking four to five of them to the ground. It appears the vehicle then drives over something, or somebody. Another video from the same scene and posted to Twitter appears shows the vehicle driving over a person on the ground.
Tacoma police spokeswoman Wendy Haddow said police were notified shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday of street racers and a crowd of approximately 100 people blocking streets in the area.
Haddow said the officer used his car’s bullhorn to address the crowd. The crowd then began pounding on his windows, she said.
“He was afraid they would break his glass,” she said. That prompted him to speed out of the scene for his own safety.
One person sustained a laceration in the collision and was transported to a local hospital, she said.
Haddow said the officer stopped a short distance from the scene and immediately called the incident in.
Police are on scene and investigating the incident.