Instant karma or police brutality? Vigilante justice or hooliganism? An incident in Minneapolis this week has us scratching our heads.
A group of cyclists staged a planned “attack” on a pedal-powered pub with squirt guns and water balloons. What they didn’t know was the drunk cart they targeted was filled with off-duty cops.
The group of hooligans had targeted several of the other roaming pedal pubs and doused them with squirt guns and water balloons before staging this final assault on the cart-full-o-cops.
In an instant, the assaulted turned to the assaulters, hopping off the wheel-equipped pub and chasing down the bikers — allegedly knocked over, held against pavement, and pinned-down by the ostensibly tipsy off-duty men in blue.
The squirt gun gang screamed, locked down on pavement. An iPhone video (below) captured it all, including incredibly aggressive moves and profane language shouted by the off-duty men.
The original perpetrators were soon arrested by (non-drunk) on-duty cops, and their mug shots graced the local news the next day.
Since the strange incident, a debate has ensued around the riders’ “rights” being violated, off-duty police brutality, and the silliness of the squirt gun wielders.
A Facebook page — “I Hate The Pedal Pub” — has served as a nucleus. There are thousands of Minnesotans who have “liked” this page. Complaints about noise, traffic blocking, and public drunkenness are cited as reasons for the “hate.”
The goal is to get the roving pubs off the street or to better control their routes through the city.
While the “I Hate The Pedal Pub” operator has no official involvement, the water-assault was originally concocted as a message on the Facebook page.
The aqua-assaulters were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Their sentences are pending.
In an age where police actions are being examined under an increasingly scrutinizing public, the incident has taken different tones. Local news in Minneapolis has focused disproportionally on the incident, and thousands of people are engaged on social media.
The debate is polarized — a large share of people see the squirters as receiving the justice they deserved, while the other camp decries excessive and unnecessary force.
Our take? A lot of overreaction all around. And as was posted by a Facebook commenter this week, “this story has multiple layers of stupidity.”