After video footage showed a police officer violently arresting an older Black man at a local grocery store in south Minneapolis earlier this month, people were outraged, and an investigation was launched.
Officer Christopher Lange can be seen in a nearly 5-minute video manhandling 64-year-old Troy Lee Billups and pushing him to the ground while attempting to arrest him inside an Aldi store on East Franklin Avenue on Wednesday, Dec. 1.
Billups was involved in a nonviolent exchange with a younger man before Lange, who was working off-duty, came over and began shoving the younger of the two men, according to an unidentified witness who recorded the incident and later spoke to Fox 9 News.
When Billups asked the officer not to touch him, Lange yelled, “you’re out,” which led to a scuffle.
“Can you tell me what you’re doing?” You’re supposed to de-escalate the situation. How is this de-escalating? “How in the f-ck is this de-escalating?” The person recording could be heard saying. “Can you tell me what you’re doing?” “What is the reason for his detention?”
Several more people gathered nearby and began recording their pleas to Lange as he struggled to arrest Billups.
“You took the situation to a new level. And you were the one who made it happen. It’s obvious. It’s as obvious as day. You took the matter to a new level. It’s a conversation between two people, and you decided to exacerbate the issue by shoving him. The individual filming added, “You inflamed the issue and made this happen.”
Lange eventually led the man outdoors, where he was subjected to a search. “For what?” the elderly man inquired when told he was being detained. Nothing was done by me. “I just told you not to touch him,” says Billups.
Billups attempted to explain himself to the officer, saying that he and the other man were conversing rather than fighting. “We weren’t pushing. We didn’t touch each other. Only I just said, ‘Don’t put your hands on me.’”
He was eventually handcuffed and taken to the Hennepin County Jail, where he was charged with obstructing legal process with force. He was later released without bond and told to stay away from that particular store. The case has also been rejected by prosecutors.
After numerous calls for the officer to be disciplined, an investigation into Lange’s actions was launched. Lange had been investigated for misconduct five times since 2019, according to the Racial Justice Network, a grassroots organization fighting for racial justice.
“It is simply unacceptable to continue to serve Minneapolis residents with an officer who has a history of abuse.” RJN said in a statement to Minnesota Spokesman Recorder that his actions were “unwarranted, hazardous, and in blatant violation of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Policy and Procedure Manual.”
“Yet, many squads were dispatched to a low-level incident triggered by an officer’s harsh and needless response. They went on to say, “This appears to be a significant waste of valuable city resources in inappropriate instances.”
“Department policy and training continues to highlight the significance of de-escalation efforts to stabilize and resolve situations when safe and practical,” Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson Garrett Parten said in a statement to Fox.