After a tense standoff lasting nearly an hour — with concussive devices and tear gas — police boxed in the protesters on all four sides and arrested them at Bobby & Steve’s Auto World on the edge of downtown Minneapolis.
But as the protesters waited for the buses that would take them to jail, hands restrained behind their backs with flex cuffs, the tension turned to a surprising fellowship.
The detainees and the Minnesota State Patrol officers guarding them chatted, smiled and joked. One patrol officer held the skateboard of an arrested protester; other officers went around offering water to the detainees.
It had the air of a casual summer party — except hours earlier, one group of guests had been shouting and swearing at the other, which returned the favor by firing tear gas and projectiles at them.
“We’re buddies,” said P.J. Noble of Minneapolis, jerking his head at the patrol officer guarding him.
“Not Facebook buddies, though,” the officer said, smiling.
Thousands of demonstrators arrived in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday night to protest the death of George Floyd, eventually violating the 8 p.m. curfew imposed by Gov. Tim Walz.
Some of the arrested were quiet as they were loaded on the buses. But soon, they were singing and chanting inside the bus, whose digital destination display read, “Have A Nice Day.”
One arrestee joked about jail food.
“You want chicken? You want some chicken?” he said to another detainee. “You’re gonna get a dry bologna sandwich,” he said, laughing as officers looked on quietly.
Dakota Shelton-Norunner said that his arrest failed to blunt the positive vibe of the night.
“He’s pretty cool,” Shelton-Norunner said of the state patrolman next to him.
Once the drama and tension broke, the mood of the area changed as those arrested filed onto buses to take them away.
“We’re human, too,” said one State Patrol officer. “We’d rather be home with our wife and kids.”
Staff writer Maya Rao contributed to this report.
John Reinan • 612-673-7402