Sunday, September 02, 2007
Critical Mass Shows Their Ass
Minneapolis Police arrested 17 adults and 2 juveniles during a monthly bicycle protest Friday night.
Hundreds of bicycles filled the streets of downtown Minneapolis starting at 6:30 p.m., as part of the Minnesota Critical Mass movement. According to a website maintained by the group, Critical Mass "is, more than anything else, a reclamation of space, a demonstration to show that the city belongs to people and not machines."
The group rides in Minneapolis on the last Friday of every month, according to Minneapolis Police Deputy Chief Rob Allen. Police have been monitoring the rides, and at times, escorting the bicyclists to protect them from the traffic the bicyclists are attempting to block.
The trouble started Friday night with one bicyclist.
"Somebody was driving straight at cars," said Deputy Chief Allen.
Police tried to arrest that bicyclist on Hennepin Avenue, but were unsuccessful. In a videotape of the incident provided by a friend of one of the bicyclists, the crowd grew vocal and restless as officers tried to make the arrest. "What's the charge? What's the charge?" the group chanted.
According to Police, the bicyclist escaped back into the mass of riders. Officers made another attempt at an arrest on LaSalle Street, not far from Loring Park, at 7:15 p.m. Friday.
"There were individuals physically trying to pull officers off the individual under arrest," said Deputy Chief Allen. That's when the officers called for backup, and at least 50 squad cars responded to the scene.
On the videotape provided to WCCO-TV, an officer is seen spraying pepper spray at some of the bicyclists. According to Allen, that was warranted, because the bicyclists were being aggressive and refusing to back away from the arrest scene.
"They were set upon by a large group who started fighting with the officers," he said.
But Matt Houston, a bicyclist from Florida, paints a different picture. "I got pepper sprayed in the face, in my eyes, I couldn't see anything," said Houston. He maintains the police were provoking the riders.
The "officer was basically trying to intimidate everybody there," according to Houston. "This just really exemplifies why I don't respect police officers, because they don't respect members of the general populace."
Allen said most of the people arrested will be charged with third degree riot. According to Minnesota statute, that's defined as "when three or more persons assembled disturb the public peace by an intentional act or threat of unlawful force or violence to person or property." The maximum penalty is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Afterthought: I wonder how Matt Houston traveled from Florida to Minnesota? On his tricycle? Certainly he didn't use any mode of transportation that used vicious, vile and evil fossil fuels.
I agree with you on the attitude of the riders. If they would drop the holier than thou attitude, and followed the rules of the road, and STAY IN THE G-D bike lane instead of riding in the car lane - they wouldn't be thought of in the negative terms that both you and I write about.
Thanks for commenting and visiting. Keep in touch.
Links to this post:
accordance and compliance with Fair Use Section 107 U.S. Copyright Code.
All other images and content © 2005-2009 David Drake.
Not responsible for content contained at linked sites.
Policy on commenting:
- Anonymous comments have little chance of being published.
- Comments made on posts 60 days old or older have little chance of being published.
- Published comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog author.
- Discretion of publishing or rejecting submitted comments rests solely with the owner and creator of this blog.
- Comments that egregiously "plug" (i.e. advertise or promote) another site or blog will be rejected. This doesn't mean you cannot include a link to your story, blog or to another site, but don't go overboard.
- Profanity is not a disqualifying factor, but profane rants solely for purposes of profanity are unlikely to be published.
- The owner and creator of this blog is not liable or responsible for the opinions of those who comment.