More campus-area assaults, robberies reported to police

by Kevin Behr

A would-be Good Samaritan ended up in the emergency room with a concussion early Sunday.

Art sophomore Evan Prokop said he and his friends were walking through Dinkytown about 2:30 a.m., heading back to his apartment, when they encountered a woman being harassed by four men.

“She was yelling at them to get away,” Prokop said. “We went over there to see if everything was OK.”

When Prokop and his friends approached the group, an unknown man started punching one of Prokop’s friends.

“I got in between to break it up and got knocked out,” Prokop said.

Maura McLoone, a Minneapolis teacher returning from a birthday party, thought the scuffle was just boys wrestling around, she said. She said she realized it was something more serious when Prokop fell to the ground.

One of the attackers then started punching and kicking Prokop, McLoone said. When the group realized he was unconscious, they ran away, she said.

Prokop began to seize and his friends called 911, McLoone said. Paramedics outfitted Prokop with a neck brace and transported him to Hennepin County Medical Center, she said.

Prokop said he suffered a concussion and does not remember much of what happened during the altercation.

“It was quite scary,” McLoone said.

Two other assaults occurred last weekend – one in the Southeast Como neighborhood and the other in Cedar-Riverside. Altogether, at least six violent assaults have occurred in the past two weeks near campus.

University Deputy Police Chief Steve Johnson said fights and assaults generally are alcohol-related. He advised students to steer clear of groups of intoxicated or aggressive people.

“If you see suspicious circumstances, call police right away,” he said. “Don’t try to be a hero.”

Robberies also on rise

While assaults in Minneapolis’ 2nd Precinct increased 113 percent in August compared with the same time period last year, personal robberies are also becoming more frequent.

Robberies increased 40 percent from 20 in August 2005 to 28 this August in the precinct, according to Minneapolis police statistics.

Three robberies occurred within four hours of one another on Saturday and a fourth occurred early Tuesday, according to police reports.

While walking to his girlfriend’s house in the Southeast Como neighborhood, a couple of men walked up to graduate student Ghaith Hiary.

“They asked me where the party was at,” Hiary said, then they demanded his wallet.

When Hiary told the men he didn’t have his wallet, they started punching his chest and back, he said.

Hiary escaped serious harm and his attackers ran away without taking anything.

Robberies on campus have been consistently low, Johnson said. As of June, there had been six robberies on University property, according to police statistics.