5 students, 7 others arrested after Dinkytown riot

8:37 AM, Apr 27, 2009   |    comments
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The University of Minnesota is calling Saturday night's Dinkytown riot an "unacceptable display of lawless behavior."

Twelve people were arrested, including 5 current 'U' students, two recent students and one future student. Most were arrested for unlawful assembly or disorderly conduct.

"This is not the kind-of behavior University of Minnesota students should engage in," said Jerry Rinehart, the university's vice provost for student affairs. "We're going to very vigorously look into each case."

It was Spring Jam weekend at the 'U,' which is typically a big party weekend. Minneapolis and U of M Police responded around 8 p.m. to a large off-campus party on the 1400 block of 7th Street SE. Some say the crowd got rowdy after a Spring Jam concert was cancelled.

"The initial officers were met by bottles, rocks and other debris being thrown at them," said Minneapolis Police Sgt. Jesse Garcia.

Police officers, wearing gas masks and other protective gear, used tear gas and foam pellets to clear the crowd, which grew to about 500 at one point.

"This was mayhem created by drunk college students," Garcia said.

Students caused property damage in the area by jumping on cars, trying to tip over vehicles and starting a large fire in the street.

U of M junior Peter Robbins was arrested for unlawful assembly but said he wasn't even taking part in the party. He said he walked a couple blocks from his house to take pictures of the riot.

"I was standing there maybe 20 seconds trying to frame a photograph when I was shot without warning," Robbins said.

He said a foam pellet struck him in the groin. He thinks the officer fired from three-quarters of a block away.

"I have a bruise on my thigh about the size of a grapefruit today," Robbins said Sunday night.

He plans to fight any charges against him.

Extra police officers were dedicated to the Spring Jam this weekend, Garcia said. By the end of the night's mayhem, about 60 officers were responding to the incidents in Dinkytown.

Rinehart said the school recently strengthened its student conduct code for off-campus activities. "We intend to use that code to its fullest as more is learned about those who were arrested and involved in this incident," Rinehart said. Possible punishments include community service, suspension and even expulsion.

No serious injuries have been reported following what happened Saturday night.

By Joe Fryer, KARE 11 News


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(Copyright 2009 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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