Once the Rouser-inspired rabble-rousers were run off or arrested Thursday night in Dinkytown, Minneapolis police officers put aside their tear gas and batons and joined in a selfie street festival with the more tame celebrants who lingered afterward, said one student on the fringe of the hockey upheaval.
In one image that U student Becca Leighton captured shortly after midnight Friday and posted on Twitter, a male police officer in full riot gear flashes a big smile as two women in Maroon and Gold overalls — midriffs and sports bras partly bared — lean in and grin. The pose was captured by another officer on his cellphone.
“It was a big contrast” to having just seen police lobbing tear gas and sending people fleeing at the height of the confrontation, Leighton said shortly before heading off to class Friday afternoon. “Cops were really cool, getting into selfies.”
Police spokesman John Elder saw the photo Leighton snapped and said it came “in a desensitized time, when things slowed down.”
Leighton wasn’t even in Dinkytown when people came out of bars and other establishments to have a group cheer for the Gophers defeating archrival North Dakota in the semifinals of the NCAA Frozen Four.
“I was with friends at their house and saw the end was exciting,” she said. “We thought Dinkytown might be fun. I felt like I wanted to be part of it.”
Leighton wants it made clear that she saw nothing wrong with officers being so friendly and accommodating in the wake of such a tense confrontation.
“As soon as everything was in order again is when they relaxed and let us take pictures,” she said. “However, they remained professional at all times.”