Students assaulted trying to stop theft

Also, police cited a man for disorderly conduct after a fight in Dinkytown.

by Nick Wicker

Two University of Minnesota students were assaulted Sunday morning after trying to track down a man they allegedly saw steal a woman’s phone.

Andrew, who asked that his last name not be used for fear of his safety, was walking home with his roommate through Dinkytown at about 1 a.m. when he saw a man snatch a woman’s phone near the corner of 14th Avenue Southeast and Fifth Street Southeast, he said.

 He chased the man down 14th Avenue Southeast until the man turned down Sixth Street Southeast.

The pursuit ended when he caught up with the man in a parking lot near the intersection of Sixth Street Southeast and 13th Avenue Southeast, Andrew said.

“I had no intentions of getting physical with him,” Andrew said. “A situation like that can turn very dangerous very quickly.”

Andrew said the thief had led him into a trap — six to seven other men were waiting for him in the parking lot. One of the men told Andrew to leave, then punched him in the face.

Andrew’s roommate approached the group, unaware of the assault. The same man then knocked the roommate’s front teeth in with a single punch, Andrew said.

The men ran away after the second assault, Andrew said, escaping in a tan sedan.

Disorderly conduct in Dinkytown

University police broke up a fight Friday morning in Dinkytown, citing one man for disorderly conduct.

A crowd of 10 to 15 people had gathered on the northwest corner of Fourth Street Southeast and 14th Avenue Southeast at about 1 a.m., according to a police report.

Officers arrived to find two men pushing and shoving each other, said University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner. The officers saw one man kick the other in the face.

Police shouted at the kicking man, who ignored them and looked like he might run away, Miner said. One of the officers targeted the man with his Taser.

The suspect then allowed police to restrain him, Miner said. The victim refused an ambulance and insisted that no assault charges be filed against the other man involved.

The victim said he and the other man “were bantering back and forth and it got out of hand,” Miner said.

The suspect was instead cited for disorderly conduct and released at the scene, Miner said. He said it is “pretty rare” for a victim of a crime to not press charges against the assailant.

Obstruction of legal process

University police arrested a man outside the Starbucks on Washington Avenue Southeast on Thursday morning after he attacked them, according to a police report.

The man was homeless and had been hanging around the business for a few days, Miner said.

When officers arrived at about 5 a.m., they repeatedly asked the man to pack his belongings and leave, the report said.

Officers managed to coax him out of the shop and into the parking lot when he “took a fighting stance at officers” and began swinging at them, the report said.

Miner said the officers tried to calm him down but eventually had to wrestle him to the ground and handcuff him.

The man was booked in Hennepin County Jail for forcibly obstructing the legal process, the report said.