NAACP calls for change after video of 'dehumanizing' arrest of a black man

The man was walking in the street before being arrested by an Edina police officer.
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The NAACP is demanding change after video surfaced of an Edina police officer arresting a black man who was walking down the street.

The seven-minute video (you can watch it below, but know it contains strong language) has been viewed more than 100,000 times since being posted to YouTube on Oct. 12. It begins with a man walking down Xerxes Avenue in Edina, with a police officer grabbing his arm and leading him towards a squad car.

Throughout the video, the officer continues to hold onto the man, who is yelling for the officer to get his hands off him and ask why the officer was detaining him.

Additional police officers eventually arrived and the man was arrested and handcuffed "without incident," KARE 11 reports. He was cited for disorderly conduct and pedestrian failure to obey a traffic signal, before being released, the Star Tribune says.

Video doesn't tell the whole story, city says

The City of Edina released a statement Friday regarding the video, saying it doesn't show everything that happened. According to the city:

The man, who had been drinking, was walking down the middle of the lane, despite there being a sidewalk.

Because there was a public safety risk, the officer pulled up behind the man and used an audible warning to tell him to get out of the road. The man, who was wearing headphones, looked at the officer, but continued to walk in the road.

Then the officer blocked the lane with his squad car, but the man walked around it continuing in the lane of traffic. The officer got out of his vehicle and followed the man, asking him to get out of the street. "The man did not stop and was defiant."

That's when the video begins.

Witness says otherwise

Janet Rowles, who recorded the video, denied the officer's account of what the man was doing, saying she easily drove around him, adding he wasn't walking down the middle of the lane, but was "literally walking on the white line that marks the shoulder," she said in a statement released by the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP Saturday.

When she saw the officer, she stopped and got out of her car to record.

"I have no interest in vilifying the police, but obviously I got out of my car in the first place because I perceive the pedestrian might not get treated fairly because of his ethnicity," Rowles said in a statement.

She continued: "The officer could have slowed to warn him he might be in danger by being on the white line and suggesting a better place for him to walk, but stopping to try to exert control over him was overzealous."

'Dehumanizing and degrading'

The Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP released a statement Saturday, calling the man's arrest "dehumanizing and degrading," and "merely reinforces the urgent need for police reform" in Minnesota and across the country.

The NAACP is demanding that an independent investigation be conducted following the arrest to determine if any department protocols or state laws were broken, and whether the man's rights and liberties were violated.

The group is also asking that the officer be suspended without pay during the investigation; the Edina Police Department start collection race and demographic data for traffic stops and use the data to reform police practices; the police chief and mayor issue a formal apology to the man and the public; retrain the police department on implicit and explicit bias; and implement best practices of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

"Watching that video and seeing a black man being manhandled and emasculated by Edina Police was not only painful and humiliating, it was a vivid reminder that blacks are still too-often seen as second class citizens in the state of Minnesota and in this nation," Nekima Levy-Pounds, the president of the Minneapolis NAACP, said in a statement.

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