As Thursday's night Dinkytown hockey riot wound down, a Minneapolis cop took a moment to snap a photo of an officer dressed in riot gear posing with two school spirit-filled women.
The cop's photo is at right. At left is a photo of the photo taken by University of Minnesota junior Becca Leighton, who told us, "I thought it was too funny that he has his baton between his legs while he's holding up a camera and taking a picture."
St. Paul cops have gotten themselves in trouble for unprofessional photos a couple different times recently. First there were two separate instances of St. Paul cops dressing up as Muslim women, then, earlier this year, another officer came under investigation after he posed for a photo with a man who looked to be passed out.
But the Minneapolis cop who took the photo at the top of this post won't face similar scrutiny, MPD spokesman John Elder tells us.
"If this was in the middle of the disturbance and the officer did that, it would be of concern, but I have spoken with people who have said they talked with people who were involved in the photos and it was after everything was calmed down and finished," Elder says. "This is community engagement."
Elder also points out the officer in riot gear pictured posing with the women doesn't even work for the MPD. Other law enforcement agencies, including the University of Minnesota Police Department and Hennepin County Sheriff's Department, also had officers in Dinkytown that night.
"It's not uncommon. I remember when I was in uniform people would ask you to stop and take a picture with them, somebody from out of town," Elder says. "Certainly people from across the ocean want a picture with American cops.
Ultimately, the key thing is that the riot had died down when the photo was taken.
"The picture certainly appears to have been taken at a time when everything had wound down, ergo, this isn't an issue, doesn't violate policy," Elder says. "We encourage officers to engage with the community."