MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –Police in riot gear arrested 10 University of Minnesota students Thursday night after hundreds took to the streets of Dinkytown following the Gophers’ stunning last-second win over North Dakota in the Final Four.
Hordes of hockey fans swarmed the intersection of 4th Street and 14th Avenue around 11 p.m., and law enforcement officials responded to the scene, wearing riot gear.
“I saw the SWAT team, or whoever they were, marching down the street, and I’ve never seen that before,” said McKenzie Lagodinski, who was arrested. “And just, like, all of a sudden, it was like: Wait, guys, this is about to get real.”
The celebration and subsequent arrests came after Justin Holl scored his first goal of the season with just 0.6 seconds left in the semi-final game. The victory cemented the Gophers’ spot in the NCAA title match against Union College, which is slated for Saturday. University officials and Minneapolis police warned Friday that destructive behavior following the championship game won’t be tolerated.
“I think it’s embarrassing, I really do,” said Mike Schmit, the student body president. “I hope my fellow students don’t do this again [Saturday] night.”
When the celebrators first gathered in the streets Thursday, they were just standing around. Some were crowd surfing. After about a half hour, things got out of hand. WCCO-TV crews saw people climbing on lamp posts, even throwing rocks and beer bottles at riot police. There was also a group climbing on a squad car, jumping up and down.
Police broke up the crowd using non-lethal force, and they arrested 10 students, who were mostly charged with disorderly conduct. Little damage was reported.
“These actions are unacceptable and must not be repeated,” said Eric Kaler, the university president. “Any destructive behavior on Saturday night will be met with zero tolerance.”
University and Minneapolis police will have a combined force of 300 officers patrolling Dinkytown and the surrounding neighborhoods Saturday night.
Officials also want people to know that even if you are a bystander, you will also be held accountable if things get out of hand.
Police are hoping that whatever happens Saturday night doesn’t come to resemble what happened back in 2003. During that incident, rioters destroyed a TV news car, set trash bins on fire, and there was some liquor store looting. Twenty-one people were prosecuted, and one student was expelled from the university. That was the second year of riots after Frozen Four wins.
The police were criticized for being too aggressive in 2003, as well as in 2002.