Kurtis Johnson had an itch to commemorate the start of summer with a long bike ride and a water gun fight.
On Saturday night, he and a group of about eight bicyclist friends decided to target downtown Minneapolis Pedal Pubs -- roving bars on wheels -- because they shared the semi-popular opinion that Pedal Pubs are just about the most annoying business idea ever.
The bikers set off squirting each other and random passersby on the sidewalk, "having some summertime fun, kicking back, having a break from being cold," Johnson says.
Then, they spotted their first Pedal Pub on Seventh and Hennepin, near First Avenue. They sprayed it down with their squirt guns and water balloons, angering one woman enough to make her hop down and shove a biker, Johnson says.
The group rode on, rounding the corner to find another Pedal Pub, then a third. They hit each, earning good-natured high fives and cheers. "Squirt us, squirt us!" the passengers called.
They regrouped by Target Field for a couple delicious American-made tobacco products, then headed over to the Memory Lanes Block Party.
On the way, they saw yet another Pedal Pub. They decided to stage a final water attack, riding around the block to meet it head-on.
Johnson veered close because his dollar-store water gun barely had the launching power to spray two feet. He squirted a line of people. Then, suddenly, the passengers spilled out onto the street and started fighting back. They dragged one man off his bike by his neck. Two women grabbed Johnson, kicking down his bike and trying to trip him as he continued squirting them in the face, laughing.
Things got serious when one of the male passengers intervened, picking Johnson up and slamming him down on the pavement. The two women sat on his lower torso while the man repeatedly tried to kick Johnson's gun away from him. It was hanging around his neck by a rope, Johnson says.
"While all this went down, they took our squirt guns and smashed them," Johnson says. "They looked like they were in a WWE production or something, swinging it over their heads and crushing it on the ground."
Others started filming with their phones while the Pedal Pub passengers identified themselves as off-duty Burnsville cops. When a biker asked to see badges, only one accommodated, Johnson says.
"I realized that they were overpowering me, and I just laid there," he adds. "I had three people sitting on me, and I could hardly breathe. They got mad at me for picking one of them up so I could breathe. I was like, 'You need to get off my lungs, lady. It's fine if you want me pinned down, you just need to get off my lungs.'"
Minneapolis police showed up about five minutes later. Johnson was stuffed in the back of a squad car next to some bloodied guy he didn't know. This man was an innocent bystander who happened to pick up some broken water gun pieces and had been arrested by mistake.
On the way to jail, officers tried to chat with him, Johnson says. "Cops were trying to be like, 'In this day and age, people will think maybe it's not water in there.' I said 'Sir, those sorts of ideas are creating a police state that instills fear. You need to get over it, dude.'"
Johnson's pretty confident that the group's disorderly conduct charges will get tossed. He insists no one in the group was read their Miranda rights.
Burnsville Police Chief Eric Gieseke deferred all questions to Minneapolis Police.
Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder declined to comment on an ongoing investigation, except to point out that officers only give the Miranda warning if they intend to gather direct evidence for prosecution through questioning a suspect. It's not necessary with every arrest.
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