Occupy MN: Hennepin County Sheriff investigating "riot equipment" kit [UPDATE]

Categories: Protest News
riot equipment.jpg
Just add actual rioters!
Yesterday in the Hennepin County Government Plaza, where Occupy MN protesters have been gathering and sleeping for two and a half weeks, building security noticed an odd package amongst the occupiers' belongings and confiscated it.

No bomb squad or drug sniffing dog were required -- the box's contents and purpose were printed out neatly on the label: "RIOT EQUIPMENT."

At the moment, it's not clear whether the box is some sort of planted evidence, a poorly-executed joke, or the worst secret plan in the history of cardboard boxes.

Update: Occupy MN provides a description of the mysterious riot mastermind(less.)

Sam Richards from the Occupy MN media team says several occupiers watched a tall, older man with flowing white hair get off the light rail with a cardboard box yesterday around noon. He says the man placed it in between a couple of card tables, hung around for a few minutes, then jumped back on the train.

A small crowd began to gather around it -- the word "RIOT" naturally caught people's attention. That of course caught the attention of Hennepin County Security officers, who took one look and spirited the box away.

They turned the box over to the sheriff's department. Inside they found a half-dozen whole or broken bricks, a fist-sized stone and a chunk of concrete. A piece of paper on the outside announces, subtly:

riot equipment box rocks.jpg
RIOT EQUIPMENT

Needs:
- bricks

- large but throwable stones

- gasoline

If this is serious, some very forthright members of the 99 percent might want to try using more than the one percent of their brain power.

The sheriff's department took the opportunity to point out -- in the increasingly escalating PR war between cops and occupiers -- that not only have they already spent $200,000 on additional personnel since the occupation began, but they are taking the box seriously and are investigating.

"The bricks could have hurt the demonstrators, people who work at the government center, law enforcement," says spokesperson Lisa Kiava.

While all of this is true, at the moment they were discovered, all the bricks were doing was making the box kind of heavy.

April Lukes-Streich from Occupy MN thinks it's clear that this is someone trying to intentionally rattle the already shaky truce between plaza security and protesters.

"We think it was a plant or some kind of provocateur trying to make us look bad," she says. "It seems almost like it's not really threatening, it's just someone trying to be funny. But it's really strange."

Richards says the mysterious man with white hair returned about seven hours later after dark, and that he was pointed out as the box-drop bandit to security.

"They couldn't really arrest him for inciting a riot," he says. "It was just a box."

Lukes-Streich says they'll be monitoring both the food and donation area much more closely in case any one else gets it into their heads to drop off something similar.

Like a bunch of empty bottles labeled MOLOTOV COCKTAIL HOLDERS, or perhaps a pan of brownies marked ILLEGAL MARIJUANA SQUARES?


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