February 17, 2021 10:02
On February 16, 2021, at about 4:00p.m., a call came in at a grocery store in the 3000 block of Northeast Weidler Street regarding a group of people arguing with employees and refusing to leave the property. The power was out and employees were discarding spoiled food. People in the crowd took exception to their work. Initially, no officers were available to respond.
At about 4:17 p.m., an employee called back because they felt the situation was escalating and feared there may be a physical confrontation. The crowd grew to about 20 people and the employee calling wanted police to remove the people from store property. At about 4:30p.m., North Precinct officers arrived and gathered information from the store representative.
The position of the employees of the store was that the food was spoiled and required to be disposed of due to lack of refrigeration. The food was unfit for consumption or donation. Officers also tried to explain this to the group of people. No subject in the crowd was willing to have an open dialogue with the officers and continued to shout insults at them and store employees.
As it was private property, the officers asked the group to leave store property or risk potential arrest for trespassing. People in the crowd slowly moved away. Officers' interest in this call was to preserve peace, prevent violence, and restore order. Officers estimated the crowd grew to about 50 people.
Between about 5:05p.m. and 5:15p.m., there were the most officers on scene. One lieutenant, one sergeant, six officers, and three trainees (who were there with their training officers). Most were there for about 10 minutes. Three officers (plus one trainee) were there for the duration of the call, which lasted about an hour.
Officers left the scene once they believed parties were separated and there was no longer any threat of harm. After officers left, employees called to report people in the crowd moved back onto store property and were confronting employees again. Store employees reported that people in the crowd were making threatening statements to them. Police supervisors decided that unless there was an imminent threat to life or threat of serious injury, police would remain away. Police did not return to the scene.
There were no arrests or citations issued, and no force was used.
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