Punks, police praised for partnership

Sid Vicious

U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno visited Minneapolis Friday, praising police and punk rockers for creating the nation’s sole joint venture aimed at deterring juvenile delinquency.
Last year, Reno addressed lawmakers in south Minneapolis and applauded local efforts to combat violent crime.
A record shop in Uptown hosted Reno’s second visit. The small store on Lyndale Avenue teemed with interested listeners. In fact, most in attendance arrived four hours early to hear the attorney general speak.
“Your efforts have not gone unnoticed,” said Reno, who sported a Fugazi T-shirt under a navy wool blazer. “It’s about time hipsters and lawmen joined forces.”
Reno, who showed off a new armband tattoo and lip piercing, bragged up her record collection to the crowd before talking about the new police initiative. She said many of her favorite bands hail from Minneapolis.
“Man, did I love that Soul Asylum band,” Reno said, swiveling her hips slightly to some background music. “I mean, they were totally rad.”
After shooting the breeze with the crowd for nearly 20 minutes, Reno turned to more serious matters. She patted the Minneapolis police administration on the back for reaching out to local music scenesters.
Several deviant youths are now safely behind bars thanks to the work of undercover Minneapolis men and women adorned with body piercings, Reno said with a bright smile.
The police initiative, coined Punks Against Deviance & Disobedience, arms nearly 50 local spike-haired and studded rockers with badges and other police paraphernalia.
More than 200 young people have been arrested at concerts around town since the initiative went into effect six months ago, police said.
Police said the vast majority of arrests and citations have been for curfew violations and drug possessions. They herald the initiative as one of the most successful city-wide policing strategies in years.
“We didn’t want kids to stop going to these great shows,” said Minneapolis police Sgt. Donald Anderson shortly before Reno began her talk. “We just wanted to filter out the bad seeds. The majority of these punk kids are upstanding, law-abiding citizens.”
Anderson said police and members of Punks Against Deviance & Disobedience will host a benefit rave at City Hall next month to raise funds for the initiative. Several area bands have been invited to play for the event.
Reno seemed thrilled by the idea and quickly bear-hugged two men from the local band Lifter Puller after Anderson made the announcement.
“Man, I’m totally there,” Reno said jubilantly. “All the raves in Washington, D.C., are lame.”
After Reno ended her comments, one punk involved in the program took center stage, lamenting against juvenile delinquency. Shay Star, a Minneapolis scenester for more than a decade, sparked a standing ovation when she voiced her devotion to the program.
Star also gave kudos to members of the police force who have become converts to the punk underground.
“I used to think cops were really bogus,” Star said. “But now that I have arrested a few of those bad kids myself, I think police are totally cool.”