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‘A darker tone’
Midnight. The team inches closer to the heart of downtown, which is coming to life. “Don’t be afraid to Dosey Doe here tonight!” a DJ can be heard saying at Whisky Park as the officers tell cabs parked in front of the Pourhouse to move along. “Police! 911 baby!” a man shouts from a rooftop as they roll by Cowboy Jack’s. At a red light, a drunk woman tries to straddle an officer’s back tire and yells at her friend on the sidewalk to take a photograph, a process that continues after the light turns green.
12:50 a.m. They huddle with colleagues outside of 400 Soundbar, a 3rd Avenue club where officers say gang members have birthday parties and get into fights. An ambulance that has been remodeled into a mobile tattoo studio pulls up, and about eight people spill out of its back doors into the club.
1:10 a.m. The team heads down 4th Street where Lysholm tells a woman to dispose of a cup of liquor. When she tries to finish it instead, he forcefully dumps it out, prompting a stream of expletives. The yelling continues for several minutes as officers write her a ticket.
“You’ll see me in court!” the woman says as she walks away. “I’m exercising my [expletive] right to free speech!”
2:10 a.m. An hour later, the officers line up on a portion of Hennepin closed to vehicle traffic as the sidewalks fill with people. “The concern right now is rival groups or just people getting mouthy to one another and [it] leads to a brawl,” Hansen says as he surveys the crowd. “And two people fighting can turn into 100 people real quick down here with this group.”
In a short span before 2:30 a.m., as Winton would later recall, “Things took a darker tone.”
Blazing red taillights zoom across the street as officers race to the two successive fights on 4th Street and Hennepin Avenue. “Why are you standing here? Move!” Hansen shouts to a group at the entrance of the parking ramp. The team then pedals to a light-rail station on 5th Street, where paramedics are lifting a man with a neck brace and a bloodied face into an ambulance.
Just up the street, another seriously injured man is lying on the ground surrounded by bystanders. Police reports showed that assaults also occurred just after 2 a.m. near 400 Soundbar and inside Brothers Bar & Grill — both requiring medical attention.
Compared to last summer, however, the club-closing scene has improved. “That was a pretty easy close,” Hansen says afterward. “It went fast without a lot of fights.”
2:40 a.m. Just a few people remain at 4th Street and Hennepin. At least one man isn’t done for the night, however, and casually approaches the assemblage of bikes to ask: How do I get to Sex World?
Eric Roper • 612-673-1732