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St. Paul Police respond to criticism after arrest of 13-year-old is caught on tape

The video was posted on Facebook Sept. 27 by Helen Dillman, who says she is a UPS employee, along with a statement condemning the way the girl was arrested.
Credit: Helen Dillman

ST PAUL, Minn. — The St. Paul Police Department has released a report in response to a video of a young girl being arrested by officers that is causing a firestorm on social media.

The video was posted on Facebook Sept. 27 by Helen Dillman, who says she is a UPS employee, along with a statement condemning the manner in which the girl was arrested. 

The video is sparking a discussion about whether the way the officers arrested the girl was acceptable. 

Mayor Melvin Carter released a statement on the matter that reads: "This video is deeply disturbing to watch. I have asked Chief Axtell to launch a formal Internal Affairs investigation into the circumstances surrounding this arrest as soon as possible."

St. Paul Police say on Sept. 26 an officer saw a known 13-year-old girl in the parking lot of a BP gas station on University Avenue. The officer knew the girl was trespassing. A trespass order states she was not to be allowed on the property until August of 2020, due to her being a chronic problem. 

Police say the teen was previously arrested for assault, disorderly conduct, theft from person, auto theft, fleeing police on foot, obstructing the legal process and trespass.

When the officer approached the girl she reportedly jumped onto a light rail platform and ran. The officer chose not to chase her because he feared she would run onto the tracks and be struck by a train, the report states. 

Instead of chasing the teen, the officer went to the girl's home to try to locate her. She was not at home. He left and was making his way back to write a report when he heard a squad had been dispatched to the area. They were reporting to the area after four juveniles were walking around, attempting to open vehicle doors in the parking lots of TJ Maxx and LA Fitness. 

The officer circled back, and saw the four suspects enter the UPS store on University Avenue. Backup squads arrived on the scene and additional officers entered the store, whose owner had previously expressed frustration with juveniles coming into the store and disrupting business.

Officers saw the 13-year-old girl who had run from the BP station on the floor behind one of the counters. One officer told her she was under arrest and not to lie on her stomach. The teen reportedly spun around and attempted to kick him. 

The report from St. Paul Police says the officer was attempting to gain control of her when the girl began to scratch and punch him in the head and attempted to kick him in the groin. 

The girl's brother was also placed under arrest for attempting to intervene and grabbing at the officer, police say.

"We know that arresting a person who is physically resisting can be difficult to watch, but we’re thankful that no one was seriously injured," Public Information Officer Steve Linders said when asked about the incident.