University employee assaulted by man at East River Flats Park

The suspect fled when two women walked into the park.

Chad Hamblin

Police are searching for a man who assaulted a 45-year-old University employee at the East River Flats Park at approximately 12 p.m. on Aug. 3.

The suspect approached the employee on a foot bridge in the park and asked her what time it was. She answered him, but the man continued to ask her for the time and started to follow her.

The employee grabbed her cell phone and told the man not to touch her, she said.

The man then attempted to grab the employee and cover her mouth.

“I bit him hard,” the employee said. “He pulled back and said, ‘You bit me,’ and I said, ‘I told you not to touch me.’ “

The suspect fled when two other women came walking down the park path.

“The person reacted quite well in this case,” Johnson said. “She did a good job of not becoming a victim.”

“I feel very fortunate that the only thing that happened to me was that I got scared to death,” the employee said.

Police described the man as a light-skinned black male in his early 20s. He had a goatee and stood about 5 feet 10 inches with a skinny build.

Police said the man was wearing blue jeans and a white basketball jersey with red trim over a white T-shirt. He also wore a wig with straight blond hair.

He later threw the wig off the foot bridge and had a baseball cap underneath, the employee said.

Johnson asked people who had any information to contact the police.

Johnson also said he encouraged people to use 624-WALK, the University’s 24-hour escort service, if they don’t feel safe walking through campus.

The crime prevention section of the University of Minnesota Police Department Web site encourages people to stand tall, walk confidently and avoid deserted areas to promote personal safety.

Johnson said assaults where the victim does not know the attacker are not common on campus.

It was not clear what the motive was, he said.

Traffic disruption

Police cited a Minneapolis resident for interfering with traffic on Aug. 4.

Police observed the man staggering down the center of Cedar Avenue near the West Bank, according to a police report.

Several vehicles swerved to avoid the man and honked their horns, according to the report. Then the man began to swing and kick at the vehicles.

Police transported the man to detoxification. On the way he talked about blowing up terrorists and wanting to kill someone, according to the report.