Officer Isaac Palmer got crushed while playing the popular Nintendo video game Super Smash Bros., and it turned out to be the best moment of his shift.
Jovante M. Williams talked smack during his battle with Palmer and other officers who played the game and called it the most positive experience he had ever had with police.
The unlikely encounter unfolded when Palmer and gang unit officers responded to a noise-complaint call Friday night at a St. Paul apartment building. Williams and four friends were having beers and playing the fighting game in which the goal is to weaken opponents and knock them out of an arena. A neighbor thought they were being too loud.
Palmer knocked on the door and said he didn't see or hear anything too crazy. Williams, on the other hand, was concerned. He had not had very pleasant dealings with police in the past, he said.
"We were not doing anything bad," Williams said. "It was just beer bottles and us being nerds."
Some light banter led an officer to ask what the guys were playing. Williams told the officer they were playing the new edition of Super Smash Bros., which came out last Thursday, and issued a challenge.
" 'Hey, you want to play?' " Palmer recalled Williams asking. Though he said he had never played the game — let alone ever played a video game while on duty — Palmer took one of the controls and went to battle. He didn't fare so well.
"I lost," Palmer said. "I didn't get killed instantly," he quickly added.
But Williams said other officers didn't tip their hand at their Smash Bros. skills, even asking Williams, "How do you jump?" before holding their own in the arena.
"They were decent at what they were doing," Williams said. "It was fun. This is a happy experience I will talk about for a while."
The world is talking, too. Williams posted a video and photo of the encounter with the officers on his Facebook and Twitter pages. By Wednesday his Twitter post had been viewed nearly 8,500 times and shared more than 3,300 times.
"Our homies here, we got our other homies here," Williams said in the Facebook video, gesturing toward the officers. "We all about to play some Smash Bros."
"We're not always robotic," said Palmer, who has been with the St. Paul police for five years. "When we do a traffic stop we might just talk about the Vikings or the Final Four. It's not always about seeing people on their worst days. Sometimes you just have to have a conversation."
Williams appreciated that. He had been pulled over in traffic stops in the past and each time wanted to get away as fast as possible. But not on Friday night.
"This was the most positive response I ever got from police," he said. "This was something positive and wholesome. I made new friends with the cops."
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768