White Dopes on Punk

Concertgoers caught in last week's melee at the bombshelter say the MPD did as much to start the riot as they did to quell it.

ANYONE WHO READ the article in last Sunday's Star Tribune about the 40-plus police cars that swooped down on the Bombshelter in Minneapolis's Central neighborhood last Friday would have thought it was a punk-rock riot: "As many as 150 people threw rocks and bottles at dozens of officers responding to the scene at Lake St. and Bloomington Ave. S.," the paper reported, quoting MPD Lt. Steve Sizer as saying the cops "were literally fighting for their lives." One officer's arm was broken in several places.

But just who started the fight remains unclear. According to Jon Krupa, one of the concert organizers, police had their guns drawn as they chased a suspect into the venue. Panic ensued, he says, when police sprayed mace in the crowded basement. There was only one exit, and when concertgoers--suffocating in the poorly ventilated room--tried to flee, police beat them with clubs and flashlights, he says. Police put out an "officer down" call, and the dozens of cops who responded blocked off streets and beat anyone trying to leave.

"There was a girl standing next to me, and she didn't say a thing, but a cop punched her in the face," says Rick West, a concert attendee who had a camera and began taking photos of the melee. As West tried to leave, he says, another officer confronted him. "When he saw my camera, he took it from me. I asked for my camera back, and he said, 'No, you can't have it.'... The cop took my film out of the camera. He exposed it and threw it away. Then he threw my camera back at me." At least one concertgoer recognized the officer and, pending the outcome of the charges filed against some 13 people arrested at the venue, may file a complaint.

NO DEAL

IT'S NOT QUITE as hard as unloading, say, copies of Graffiti Bridge, but Prince has been having a tough time getting rid of a Minneapolis warehouse-district building nonetheless. Ordered last week by city officials to fix up the vacant building he owns at 121 Washington Ave. N. or tear it down, the diminutive deed-holder had agreed last spring to sell the decaying property to investors. But that deal fell through, and the four-story, 107-year-old building remains the property of Paisley Park Enterprises. Now local investor group Washington Renovations Inc. has a tentative agreement to buy the building; it plans to turn the first floor into a restaurant or commercial space and convert the rest of the Queen Anne-style structure into condos.

ARTLESS AT MCAD

RECENTLY, THE Minneapolis College of Art and Design made a list that no other Minnesota institution is on: the American Association of University Professors' list of censured institutions. In 1994, according to an AAUP report, MCAD faculty--whose salary levels were said to be "among the lowest in the state of Minnesota"--were asked to choose between renewing their old contracts and signing new contracts with "radically different terms and conditions" and "substantial financial incentives." One of the new contract's conditions, titled "Termination Without Cause," empowered MCAD to fire faculty without cause within a year of the contract's end. Since not signing meant no raise, nearly every faculty member agreed to the three-year contract. At least one faculty member has been fired--for what MCAD called "budgetary reasons"--under the terms of the new agreement. AAUP spokesperson Robert Kreiser says notice of MCAD's censure goes to the College Art Association so prospective teachers "will think twice about working there," but MCAD students probably won't be aware of the reprimand unless the school can no longer recruit good teachers.

"LEROY, IT'S BO"

PART OF A posting by St. Paul City Council member Dave Thune to MN Politics, a local Internet newsgroup: "Hi, everybody... just got back from N.Y. and have good news to report: Neiman is back in--in a big way! He was cheered by the stack of letters he showed us and pleased that we came to see him. One amusing anecdote: the gov was interrupted when LeRoy's phone rang. His wife picked it up and whispered to him, 'LeRoy, it's Bo Derek.' Neiman's response: 'Bo who?' That one rates a big 10 in my memoirs..." Can't wait to see 'em, Dave.

 
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