Chief Harteau stood at the corner of 7th Street and Nicollet Mall in the middle of the lunch hour Wednesday with other business leaders to assure residents that last night was an isolated case, and there is no reason to fear downtown.
John Martin is a parent and said some of the kids in his community were part of the melee. He saw last night as a symptom of a larger problem.
"It was kinda sad. It was kinda bad to see a group of African American teens with ages ranging from 15 to 18, just out there harassing people and bumping into people and getting a kick out of it," Martin said.
It inspired Martin to organize what he called a Parent Information Fair that will allow both parents and children to find organizations that interest them and occupy their time, rather than this.
"We've got to find more ways of reaching out, not only to teens, but reaching out to their parents. Their parents can encourage them to get involved in something positive rather than negative," he said.
A Minneapolis Police spokesperson said Chief Harteau likes the idea. Meanwhile, police are checking Facebook and other social media outlets looking into how the concept may have sparked.
"What you saw yesterday, it's going to spread. It's going to spread like wildfire, and we want to be able to stop it. We want to be able to put it out. We want to be able to offer these young people hope," Martin said.
The Parent Information Fair will be at Butter Cafe, on the corner of 37th and Nicollet in Minneapolis, on March 28th from 11am to 3pm. If you have any questions, or would like your organization to attend, contact John Martin. JohnMartinC1970@gmail.com or 612-223-8250.