Carjacking leads to wave of arrests

Later that night, police dispersed a crowd of hundreds at the Dinkytown McDonalds.

by Kia Farhang

A carjacking outside the University of Minnesota Armory led to a string of arrests on and around campus early Saturday morning.

Three men were driving on Church Street Southeast when someone threw a can at their car. The driver rolled down his window, and a group of eight to 12 people pulled him and the passengers out, beating them and stealing their car, according to University Police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner.

As of Tuesday, only one man suspected in the carjacking had been arrested.

Miner said no one involved was affiliated with the University, which illustrates a larger trend of more outsiders committing crimes on campus.

Two of the victims were treated at the scene for bruises and welts on their heads, Miner said. They declined to comment for this story.

At least three people drove off in the victims’ vehicle, but only one man was in the car when police approached it about a block away from the scene. He took off running but was later arrested when another officer found him.

One officer who responded to the carjacking call saw about five people running from the scene, according to a police report. He later found three people inside a construction site on Union Street Southeast.

The carjacking victims told police the three suspects from the construction site weren’t the ones who stole their car, so police let two go. But one of them had three misdemeanor warrants out for his arrest and was booked in jail.

Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said he can’t remember the last time he heard of a carjacking on campus.

“This is very unique,” he said, “to have somebody’s car stolen while they’re driving it.”

Chaos at McDonald’s 

About two hours after the carjacking, police responded to a disturbance call at the Dinkytown McDonald’s. People were fighting in the parking lot, and a crowd of several hundred had gathered, according to a police report.

An officer responding to the scene approached a man at the restaurant who matched the description of the carjacker who had escaped police earlier in the night. After the man refused to talk, the officer pinned him to a fence to restrain him, according to the police report.

About 50 people outside the restaurant surrounded the officer and started shouting at him, so another officer started firing pepper balls at the ground to disperse them.

The officer eventually pinned the shirtless suspect to the ground.

A University student, who  wished to stay anonymous, approached police at the scene and questioned their tactics with the man.

Police asked the student to leave but he refused. Police sprayed the student in the face with pepper spray, according to the report. When he refused to go and moved towards police, an officer shot pepper balls, striking his feet and chest. They eventually arrested him for obstructing the legal process.

Miner said University police use pepper balls about once every two months.

“It’s an effective tool when officers are dealing with a large crowd,” he said.

The man police were restraining had a blood alcohol content almost three times the legal limit. He was arrested for underage consumption.