DINKYTOWN RIOTS: Was Minneapolis police response appropriate? - KMSP-TV

DINKYTOWN DISTURBANCE: Were riot police needed?

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They day after the University of Minnesota's Golden Gophers got knocked out of the Frozen Four championships and students gathered on the streets of Dinkytown, some are questioning the police response.

"It's partly on them, and partly on the students," sophomore Josh Klems told Fox 9 News. "They had the batons, then they had the tear gas, which -- a lot of people trying to get home were getting tear gassed."

Klems made it home unscathed, but some fans who live in the heart of Dinkytown did not. One man who crawled up the mobile police camera spoke with Fox 9 News after getting blasted by a paint bullet.

"I decided I needed to get a better angle of this," Cameron said.

After Thursday's Frozen Four celebrations got rowdy, university leaders issued a zero-tolerance warning before the championship game got underway -- and students and fans alike say they were on edge all night.

"It's a tough call -- especially with the way the riots were earlier this week," former Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan said. "Something must have happened where it lead to forceful action, 'cause I know that's something they really don't want to do."

The Minneapolis Police Department has not commented on the Dinkytown detail from Saturday night, which involved police in riot gear using flash grenades, tear gas, and paint bullets -- and they also have not publicly addressed allegations that officers went too far.

"You don't start out heavy-handed," Dolan said. "You don't start out with the riot gear."

Dolan acknowledges that approach can incite the crowd; however, he says it is difficult to tell if police could have done anything differently to prevent the situation from escalating.

"I'm sure they waited -- tried to wait it out, hoping that the kids would clear," he said.

A spokesperson with the Minneapolis Police Department said they are still debriefing with other agencies to assess their approach, and they do not intend to share any information until that process is complete.

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