A bizarre prank in downtown Minneapolis led to 6 arrests and a lot of finger pointing on Saturday night. Witnesses said it started when a group riding a PedalPub through Minneapolis' Warehouse District was attacked with water balloons and water guns. In response the PedalPub patrons, including a group of off-duty Burnsville police officers, held the suspects down until Minneapolis police arrived.
Some of the men who were restrained are now saying the off-duty officers were unnecessarily rough.
Burnsville police confirmed its off-duty officers were riding a pedal pub near the corner of 1st Avenue and 4th Street, but their exact roles in this incident are unclear. The officers are still on active duty as investigators collect more information.
The aftermath of the water fight was captured on cell phone video.
"Do you understand me? I will break your arm. Stay the f--- on the ground, do you hear me? Do not move. You better leave f-----," can be heard in the one minute long video.
The video also shows one of the water-wielding suspects, Francis Belanger, pinned to the ground.
"He had his neck on my throat and proceeded to get it off me because I couldn't breathe," Belanger told Fox 9.
Another suspect, Kurtis Johnson was also restrained.
"And at one point they tried to kick this (referring to a water gun he had connected to a rope) away from me, while it was still around my neck," Johnson said.
The driver of the Pedal Pub said she was distracted and annoyed after being shot multiple times with water guns, and even hit with water balloons. She said she has no problem with the way the off-duty police officers responded.
The suspects thought the only crime they were guilty of was a poorly executed childish joke.
"A little water, seemed like a harmless prank," said soaking suspect Sam Spadino.
Johnson and his friends admit they targeted pedal pubs and hit the off-duty officers with water balloons and got them wet with squirt guns, but say the response was too harsh.
Minneapolis police officers eventually arrested 6 men, including Johnson who was charged with causing bodily harm, and Belanger who was charged with disorderly conduct. Johnson and Belanger say they are the real victims in all this and are considering their legal options.
"They got off of the PedalPub and smashed our personal property," Johnson said.
Burnsville police wouldn't commit to an interview, but Chief Eric Gieske released a statement saying, "We are aware of the incident that happened Saturday evening involving six of our off duty police officers. We have asked Minneapolis Police investigators for more information. Until then, the six officers will remain on active duty."