Police will use riot footage to identify suspects

Dylan Thomas

University police are soliciting video and still photographs taken at the riot Saturday night to try to identify revelers involved in crimes.

Lt. Chuck Miner said University police will inspect footage broadcast by local media as well as video and still shots taken by the dozens of camera-wielding amateurs at the scene.

At a press conference Sunday, University President Robert Bruininks announced a zero-tolerance policy for students involved in the riot, raising the possibility that video evidence could lead to disciplinary action from the University as well as legal action from the police.

Miner said University police are encouraging people to send in anything they think might be helpful and have already received some footage shot by individuals.

He said pictures of suspects would be posted on the University police Web site as soon as Monday night or today. Miner said they had “some success” with posting suspects’ photos online after last year’s riot, although he could not say if they led directly to any arrests.

Local television news directors said Monday they had not been contacted by police. They all said they would not turn over any footage that was not already broadcast.

Steve Frisk, a University Parking and Transportation Services security camera monitor, said little of the riot was caught by campus cameras. Frisk, who was at work Saturday night, said most of those cameras are focused on parking facilities, away from the action.

He said he had seen no footage that would be useful for identifying suspects, but would be reviewing more tapes today. Frisk had not been contacted by police or University officials.

Amateur night

Josh Powers, a University broadcast journalism student, was prepared days in advance to film the riots he said seemed “pretty much expected.”

His shots from Saturday night include footage of people lighting a car on fire after it was flipped over. He said he plans on using the footage for an assignment in his broadcast news reporting class.

Powers said the camera gave him some leeway with the police, allowing him to get close to the action, although it did not keep him from getting tear gas in his eyes.

Powers said he would not turn over footage to the police because he was not “out to incriminate anybody.”

“I probably wouldn’t give over my video,” Powers said. “Besides, I need it for class.”

However, others filming the riot said they would consider using their footage to aid police investigators.

Zero Selon, a Minneapolis Community and Technical College student, said he would consider giving police his footage of cars being flipped over and set on fire.

“A lot of people were trying to show off and stuff, and I don’t think they realize that footage could get them expelled if I wanted it to,” Selon said.

He also filmed what he described as a “really unwarranted attack” by a police officer using pepper spray on a person who Selon said was not involved in the riot. He said he would possibly turn the tape over to local media.

Selon said watching the riot on film was less intense than being there, but put some actions in perspective.

“At certain points, the stupidity seemed much larger on video than it did in person,” Selon said.

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