It was around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday in St. Paul. A neighbor heard some rowdy sounds coming from an apartment near University and Hamline Avenues and called the cops to come over and quiet things down.
The visit didn’t go exactly as the caller planned. A video posted on Twitter a short time later shows apartment resident Jovante Williams smiling at the camera in the neon light of a colorful TV screen. “We’ve got our homies here…” he says.
The camera pans to a dude in a T-shirt.
“...We’ve got our other homies here…”
The camera pans again, this time to two St. Paul Police Officers in uniform – Isaac Palmer and Kou Yang -- holding controllers. One of them gives a thumbs up.
“Yo, man, we’re all about to play some Smash Bros,” he says, turning the camera back on his face.
That’s right: Williams, his friends, and the cops who were called on them, all settled in to play Nintendo’s cameo-packed masterpiece fighting series, Super Smash Brothers -- and the latest title, to boot.
The video of their Super Smash Brothers showdown has since gotten nearly 100,000 views, and it’s been touted as one of the rare times when an encounter with the cops ends with nothing but good feelings. As the video's popularity swelled, people started asking the really important questions. Such as:
Hold up, who did they pick though?— CherryQuench (@CherryQuench) December 10, 2018
But who won?— Douglas lindsay (@Doug1tux1) December 11, 2018
You fought the law and ???? Won
The scenario, as Williams describes it, was this: The cops showed up, determined there “didn’t seem to be an excessive amount of noise,” and asked Williams and his friends what they were playing. Before too long, the two of them had controllers and one of them was choosing Pikachu as his character – which, one Twitter user says, is “proof that all Pikachu players are cops.”
"I fell from being worried and scared to being very, very, very safe," he says. "One thing I don't get to do so often is drink beer in front of the cops without feeling any unease."
He says the officers played pretty well for self-professed newbies. After they left, he and his friends (Ian Smith, Rico Walden, Storm McKee, and Ashley Yangtao) debated whether or not this was really the officers' first time playing. That said:
“I lost,” Palmer says of his bout with Williams and his friends. “They knew what they were doing, and I think I came in, like, third.”
But he says they had a good time, and it’s nice to take calls when they have time to interact and be friendly with the people they’re checking in on. They’re not “robots,” he says.
Meanwhile, the online response has been mind-boggling, Williams says. He feels like he's in an episode of Black Mirror, without some sinister twist at the end. He keeps getting messages from both members of the force and people who have had less-than-sensational interactions with cops saying this warmed their hearts.
"I made something viral, and it was something wholesome," he says. "In this day and age, that's something we can all share and be happy about."