Video shows transit officer asking passenger about immigration status

Published 8:05 am Monday, May 22, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis Metro Transit police are investigating an incident shown on video in which a transit officer asks a light-rail passenger about his immigration status.

The agency announced it was investigating after Minneapolis artist Ricardo Levins Morales posted video of the incident to his Facebook page on Friday. Morales said the officer was checking passenger fares, which is routine. The video shows the officer asking one passenger for state identification. When the person indicates he doesn’t have one, the officer asks, “Are you here illegally?”

Morales then asked the officer if he was authorized to act as an immigration agent and the officer responded, “No, not necessarily.”

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“Then I would stay out of that,” Morales said to the officer. “It’s very touchy legal territory.” Morales went on to say, “I would not act on behalf of another agency if you’re not legally empowered to do so.” After that the officer said, “OK,” and the video ends.