Rage Against the Machine was playing at the Target Center, and there was an assumption right from the get-go that this might get ugly. At a stoplight, I paused for a moment to chat with a young policeman pulling his riot helmet from the back of a black SUV. "Bet you're ready for all this to be over, eh?" I said to him.
"Nah. They haven't yet assigned me to St. Paul, so this might be the only chance I get to mix it up. About time," he said.
And sure enough, some hours later, when a couple of hundred concert goers lingered around downtown Minneapolis after the concert, there came a moment when the cops ordered them to go home. When the concert-goers got a bit indignant (after all, the parties for the official delegates don't even get started in downtown Minneapolis until 2:00 am), the cops reacted instantly by hosing them with pepper-spray and arresting 100 of them.
Other than verbal shouts, there was no physical provocation visible in any of the footage.
I"m not sure how many of these anti-riot squad members have come in from out of town, but I can tell you that my opinion of local law enforcement is dropping by the day. At the moment, there's no effort to "keep the peace," but rather a distinct wish to provoke confrontation.
Republicans partying at the Aqua club downstairs from my office littered the sidewalk outside with vomit, beer cans and wine bottles last night from 2:00 to 4:00 am. I don't think any of them were maced or clubbed for the offense.