Amid the shouting, swearing and name-calling Thursday on downtown streets outside the Trump rally — between the raised middle fingers, the burning banner and the bellowing bullhorns — came a few friendly moments.
A couple danced together between lines of police and protesters. Two wary strangers talked and then shared a cigarette. Civilians stepped in to break up fights, along with the police. A woman, calling herself nonpartisan, offered hugs to random passersby.
Below are a few of those moments, as captured by photographers on the scene.
* * *
Matthew Trice, a proud New Jersey native, is definitely not a Trump supporter. But he had nothing bad in mind when he attended the president’s Minneapolis rally Thursday.
“I just wanted to see things for myself and talk to somebody wearing a red MAGA hat,” he said. “Nothing big.”
Trice, 25, came armed with only his curiosity and a saxophone. We’ll get back to that in a minute.
He had no difficulty finding somebody to chat with. Trice, who is black with an Italian mother, was pretty sure the man wasn’t a racist. He told him he believed many of the people wearing MAGA hats were bigots. If you’re going to wear the hat, he said, you have to realize that.
“Hopefully that stuck with him,” Trice said.
At first, the man was defensive. He told Trice he feared getting ambushed because of the hat. Trice shot back that he now knew how black people have felt in the United States for the last 400 years.
They shared a cigarette and shook hands. “I think we were cool,” he said.
Then Trice pulled out his saxophone — he teaches music in the St. Paul schools and gives private lessons — and faced a line of police officers brandishing riot gear.
He started playing “Bad Boys,” the theme song from the TV show “COPS.” Some officers smiled. So did a few protesters.
To maintain the good vibe, he serenaded a female officer with “Isn’t She Lovely?” No response from her.
Trice soon found himself in demand. He played “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and was asked to provide music for a dance-off between the officers and protesters. That fizzled. But he hung around for 1-1/2 hours in hopes of just bringing people together, and decided later that his belief that most police officers are good remained intact.
“You always want cops on your side,” he said. “I could have gone to the rally and shown anger. But there were already enough people doing that.”
* * *
A crowd of perhaps 50, a mix of Trump supporters and opponents, gathered under a skyway outside Target Center late Thursday afternoon. People on both sides shouted at each other, as they would continue to do for at least the next seven or eight hours.
Somebody began harassing Chris Windego, a young man holding a pro-Trump sign. Willy Jenkins, who had an anti-Trump sign, reached out and threw an arm around Windego’s shoulder.
“Here, c’mon, dude,” Jenkins said.
Windego put an arm around Jenkins. The two smiled and hugged.
“It was a sweet moment,” Star Tribune photographer Elizabeth Flores, who captured it with her camera, said later.
“This is exactly what it should look like!” @downtheally wrote of Flores’ photo on Instagram. “Just because we have different views, doesn’t mean we can’t respect each other!”
“I’m really proud to see people representing different ideas while still being able to respect each other,” echoed @cindy_needsadrink. “We can agree to disagree in a civilized manner,” agreed @mkpiltz.
“This is how everyone should behave and take some lessons,” Debbie Morgan Schade commented on Facebook.
While others argued over whether the hugging photo represented Minnesota nice, @andromedaannie declared, “This is the most Minnesotan thing ever!” She punctuated her comment with a heart emoji.
* * *
Kalliah Jackson, 31, wore a large sign that said “Peaceful” on the front and “Unarmed” on the back as she intervened in skirmishes between Trump protesters and supporters leaving Thursday night’s rally. She wore a baseball cap that read “Native pride.” A red painted handprint was emblazoned across the front of her face.
“No violence! No violence!” Jackson yelled as she stood amid an angry crowd that had begun circling and yelling at a man wearing a T-shirt that read “Russia made me do it.”
Jackson stood her ground as a woman swore at her for defending the man. Jackson, who said she’s from the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Oregon, said she attended the rally to intervene in just such confrontations.
“I am standing for peace and nonviolence,” she said. “As soon as I see somebody going at it, I’m going to step in between … We’re better than that, and we have to hold true to that … We’re so much better than this hatred, and this isn’t us.”