Christopher Lange: Minneapolis cop faces inquiry over violent arrest of Black shopper
Minneapolis police officer Christopher Lange is facing an internal investigation, after a viral video of him physically assaulting a Black shopper emerged. On December 1, shoppers at an Aldi supermarket in the city were left shocked after Lange got into an altercation, ending with the violent arrest of Troy Lee Billups. Two weeks later, after much outrage and fury, the police department confirmed Lange was being investigated.
The shocking arrest of Billups is just one of the many times police officers have been caught using force unnecessarily, despite over a year of protests. In January, a Washington police officer plowed his cruiser through a group of people in an attempt to stop a street race. A day later, Patrick Warren Sr. was shot in Texas by a cop during a welfare check. More recently, in November, an NYPD officer was caught beating a homeless man unconscious while clearing an encampment.
Despite public outrage and heavy media scrutiny, police brutality remains at an all-time high. Exact numbers are hard to obtain since disclosure is voluntary, but a Nature report from May 2021 indicated "Black men are 2.5 times more likely than White men to be killed by police." Thankfully, Billups wasn't killed, but the situation he faced is a good example of how Black men are often targeted by White officers.
Who is Christopher Lange?
The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer reportedly "boasts a past history of misconduct". According to one archive, he has had five complaints against his name but has never once been disciplined. The exact details of the allegations against him have been hard to get. The Racial Justice Network noted all five complaints have come since 2019. Beyond that, little is known about Lange, who also works security at the supermarket when he is off duty.
On December 1, it appears Billups was arguing with another shopper at the store. It's unclear what happened, but Lange then intervenes and asks the man "is that your stuff?" He then says "you're out" and grabs Billups by the collar. Lange spends a few minutes struggling to get Billups under control, as he tries to escape his grip while the person recording the video can be heard screaming, "What are you doing? You're supposed to deescalate. How is this deescalating? How the f--k is this deescalating?"
Billups and Lange roll on the floor for a few minutes, before Billups is taken outside and eventually cuffed, accused of "obstructing the legal process with force." He's since been released from jail with the case against him dismissed by prosecutors, but the viral video has now gathered over 113,000 views on Instagram, and a tide of complaints against the MPD. Here's the whole video as uploaded on Instagram-
In response to the video, the Racial Justice Network called on the MPD to "take immediate disciplinary action against Officer Christopher Lange. We further demand that Lange be barred from working overtime at ALDI or any other location that serves residents of color in Minneapolis." It's unclear if that has happened, but the MPD did confirm an internal investigation was underway. "This matter has been referred to the Minneapolis Office of Police Conduct Review for evaluation," a spokesperson for the MPD said.
Aldi also responded to the incident, telling reporters, "We are cooperating with local authorities as they investigate this matter further. We kindly ask that you direct any questions to the Minneapolis Police Department." They did not confirm if Lange was barred from working there though.