Five officers were pepper-sprayed and 21 people, mostly juveniles, were arrested after authorities responded to a riot in St. Paul's Payne-Phalen area Wednesday night.
St. Paul and Metro Transit police officers were alerted at about 7 p.m. to a large group of about 50 juveniles blocking traffic and two females fighting in the middle of the intersection of Rose Avenue and Greenbrier Street, according to a police report.
When authorities arrived via a Metro Mobility bus, the group scattered, and at least one person sprayed three Metro Transit and two St. Paul police officers in the eyes and chest with bear pepper spray, said St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders.
Cellphone video from people detained at the scene helped identify more who were part of the melee, Linders said. They were located nearby and arrested on suspicion of third-degree riot, he said. Of the 21 arrested, 19 are juveniles.
The officers are part of a special detail that patrols areas known for having large groups of kids and adults "gathering and causing problems," Linders said. In past gatherings, juveniles have had weapons, including Tasers, chemical irritant and knives, and property has been damaged, he added.