BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — A bystander video taken at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport earlier this month shows a police officer rushing in and grabbing a Black victim of a verbal assault, instead of the white woman who appeared to have instigated the confrontation.
The incident happened Feb. 15 at MSP Terminal 1 baggage claim. The man who shot the video said he began filming because the white woman was belligerent, rude and repeatedly harassed multiple passengers. He said he can't explain why police would immediately go for the Black woman, who was the victim.
The video shows a white woman walking up to a couple of other travelers, speaking aggressively and swearing at them. She then turns in a circle, pointing and cursing at the crowd.
The woman then walks up to a group of other travelers, and reaches toward a Black woman's mask. The Black woman appears to be putting up her arm to keep the woman at bay, when a police officer rushes in and grabs the Black woman.
The crowd can be heard yelling, "Wrong person, wrong person," and "It's her," indicating the white woman who had walked away. After about 13 seconds of confusion, the officer lets her go and walks over to the white woman, grabbing her arm.
Family of the woman first grabbed by police said she feels racially profiled by airport. She now has an attorney, who told KARE 11 they have no public comment right now.
In a statement to KARE 11, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) confirmed that a 59-year-old woman "located in Terminal 1 bag claim, became verbally aggressive toward other passengers, shouting profanities at them. (The woman) eventually focused on two passengers whom she confronted while others in the area gathered to watch and film the disturbance."
The statement continued, "Airport police were called to the scene and the first officer to arrive moved to quell the disturbance. In the confusion of the moment and based on his understanding of information provided to him by a passenger present, the officer misidentified who had initiated the disturbance and engaged one of the two individuals whom (the woman) had confronted. Bystanders corrected the officer who quickly turned his attention on (the woman), who was arrested for possession of drugs (5th Degree), obstruction of legal process, and disorderly conduct."
A MAC spokesperson said charges are pending against the woman. The Hennepin County Attorney's Office confirms it received the case and are reviewing it for possible charges.
The MAC statement also expressed "regret" for the initial confusion.
"The Metropolitan Airports Commission regrets the confusion that caused the wrong individual to be initially identified as the suspect."