Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Team updates investigation into Tacoma police car incident, including number of people hit

Law enforcement fills a Tacoma intersection on Jan. 23 after a police officer responding to reports of street racing drove through a crowd. The burned rubber from the illegal racing and burnouts marks the pavement at Ninth Street and Pacific Avenue.
Ted S. Warren
The Associated Press
Law enforcement and onlookers gather in downtown Tacoma after a Tacoma Police vehicle drove through a crowd Saturday night. Two people were injured, and the officer is on administrative leave as the investigation continues.

The Pierce County Force Investigation Team said Friday that it has determined that six people were struck during a Jan. 23 incident in which a Tacoma police officer drove through a crowd of people. Members of the team have talked with three of the people and are working to get statements from the others.

Investigators with PCFIT said they have received more than 30 tips about the incident.

You can read the statement PCFIT released on Friday here.

On Jan. 23, Officer Khahn Phan was responding to reports of reckless driving and street racing in downtown Tacoma. Several people gathered around his vehicle. Video posted to social media showed the officer driving through a group of people, some of whom fell backward and away from the vehicle. Video also shows a person being struck and rolling underneath the tires of the police SUV.

Phan, a police officer for nearly 30 years, has been placed on administrative leave.

The police vehicle was not equipped with a dashboard camera, and Phan had not yet been assigned a body camera.  

The investigation into the incident is being led by the Puyallup Police Department, which is still asking for witnesses or anyone with video of the incident to come forward. You can contact the tip line at 253-770-3343 or

This incident comes at a time of heightened awareness about Tacoma police use of force, particularly in the wake of the killing of Manuel Ellis, who died in March while being restrained by Tacoma police officers. 

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.