At least one pedestrian was hospitalized as a result of the incident, Q13 FOX of Seattle reported.
Police had responded to the area on reports of drivers performing “burnouts” and “doughnuts” in the street, attracting spectators, according to reports and videos on social media.
When the police cruiser arrived, members of the crowd gathered around the vehicle, hitting it and appearing to threaten police — prompting an officer to call for them to disperse, a department spokesperson told Q13 FOX.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
After not being able to get through the crowd, the officer drove forward, with members of the crowd falling to the side or hurrying to get out of the vehicle’s path.
“He was afraid they would break his glass,” Tacoma police spokeswoman Wendy Haddow said, according to the News Tribune of Tacoma.
The officer at the wheel stopped the cruiser when it was safe and called for medical aid, a statement from the department said, according to a KOMO-TV Seattle reporter.
“I am concerned that our department is experiencing another use-of-deadly-force incident,” interim Tacoma police Chief Mike Ake said in the statement, according to KOMO. “I send my thoughts to anyone who was injured in tonight’s event, and am committed to our Department’s full cooperation in the independent investigation and to assess the actions of the department’s response during the incident.”
The department has turned over the investigation to the Pierce County Force Investigation Team, the statement said.
The involved officer will be placed on leave during the investigation, Tacoma City Manager Elizabeth Pauli told The News Tribune.
It was not immediately clear if the officer or any of the pedestrians involved in the reported street racing would be facing charges — although video posted by a reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune appeared to show members of the crowd being led away in handcuffs.
The Tacoma Police Department did not immediately respond to a Fox News after-hours request for comment.