‘Arrests’ raise money for Special Olympics

Emily Ayshford

Robert Mews was arrested Tuesday in front of everyone driving down University Avenue Southeast.

“It was pretty funny,” he said.

Mews was arrested as part of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s ninth annual Jail ‘n Bail event. Students could sign their friends up to be “arrested” and taken to a tent on Northrop Plaza.

Arrestees were then given pizza, soda and a cell phone, and told they could not leave until they raised $50 for Special Olympics Minnesota’s Law Enforcement Torch Run.

Aaron Hertzberg, Sigma Alpha Epsilon member and co-organizer of the event, said organizers expected to get 250 arrest requests from people, but they could end up arresting more.

“Some people walk up and say ‘I want to be arrested,’ ” Hertzberg said. He added that anyone around the tent was in for some hassling.

“We can pressure them into coming in,” he said.

Hertzberg said they raised approximately $17,000 last year and hoped for $18,000 this year.

However, because of complaints last year, officers from the University and Minneapolis police departments were not allowed to interrupt classes.

Instead, they were sent to homes or offices, or just waited for students after class.

Hertzberg said police volunteered their time, and Minneapolis police provided a paddy wagon to detain arrestees.

University President Robert Bruininks also showed up to raise money and act as the judge, welcoming students to jail and telling them their bond was posted at $50.

Jeff Nyberg was in the middle of painting when an officer came to arrest him.

“I was kind of pissed,” Nyberg said. “They squished us in the back of a cop car. I didn’t like that too much. But the cause is good.”

Andrea Heinrichs, a child psychology junior, said she had already raised $55, but was planning on staying until she raised more.

“I said, hey, I can get $100,” she said.

Marianne Scheel, a University police officer, said she took the day off to volunteer her time.

“It’s near and dear to my heart,” she said. She said she has been involved with the Special Olympics for 15 years.

Scheel said most people do not make a scene when arrested and most know what’s happening.

“You’re not going to force them to do it,” Scheel said.

Mary Kay Hokanson, development director for Special Olympics Minnesota, said money donated to the organization helps fund the Special Olympics, since no athlete pays to be involved.

Hertzberg said people generally enjoy the fundraiser and do not complain too much about having to call people for money.

“It raises money for a good cause,” he said.

Emily Ayshford welcomes comments at [email protected]