(ESPAÑOL) A local police officer was caught on tape asking a train passenger for his immigration status.
Metro Transit police are conducting an internal investigation into a report of one of their officers asking a passenger on a light-rail train if he was “here illegally.”
Video of an officer asking a passenger questions was posted on Facebook late Friday afternoon, and was immediately shared hundreds of times; the video states the interaction occurred on Sunday, May 14, on the Minneapolis Blue Line.
The officer asks the man’s name, then replies, “That’s not what you gave me.” He then asks for a state ID, then asks, “Are you here illegally?”
At that point, the person taking the video interjects, asking the officer, “Are you guys authorized to act as immigration police?”
The officer shrugs, and replies, “No, not necessarily.”
The man taking the video says, “Then I would stay out of that, it’s very touchy legal territory … I would not act on behalf of another agency if you’re not legally empowered to do so.”
The officer says, “OK,” and the video ends.
Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington posted his own statement to Facebook less than an hour after the video was posted. A department spokesman confirmed that Harrington’s statement related to the interaction captured in the Facebook video.
Harrington said someone outside the department alerted him to the reported incident, and he “immediately called for an Internal Affairs investigation to gather details about this incident and to report back to me as quickly as possible.”
He added that, “It is not the practice of the Metro Transit police to inquire about the immigration status of our riders,” and later added that his officers “have not been trained or empowered to act as Federal Immigration authorities.”
He then quoted department policy that Metro Transit officers treat everyone equally and recognize “the dignity of all persons, regardless of their immigration status.”