Forgive the hyperbolic title and read on:
St. Paul police fired chemical agents and projectiles into a large crowd of protesters outside the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night.
Witnesses said the protesters marched from the grounds of the state Capitol after a concert there ended abruptly.
The protesters were noisy but peaceful as they approached the convention. Once they arrived, a police officer read an order to disperse, CNN reporters on the scene said.
But almost immediately, officers along the exit route opened fire with gas and projectiles. In one instance, a CNN producer said, an officer stepped out of line to hit a young woman with pepper spray as she ran for the exit.
Police said officers were trying to scatter protesters who they said were trying to get past security fences.
Police told the AP that about 2,000 people participated in the anti-poverty march, which lasted about three hours.
Other officers used gas and pepper spray in the path of those attempting to comply with the disperse order, forcing some to stop in their tracks, a CNN crew reported.
If this were a Mastercard spot, it would read as follows:
- Overtime pay for 3,500 St. Paul police officers: $34 million.
- Training 3,500 officers to handle a peace protest: $16 million.
- Responding with excessive force to rowdy peaceniks in the name of "national security": Priceless.
I love the smell of pepper spray during convention season.
Four people were arrested at two Minneapolis homes and booked on probable cause of conspiracy to commit a riot, said Gina Berglund, an attorney helping to represent protesters. There were no arrests at a third home targeted. Later, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office said a fifth person was arrested at an undisclosed location.
"A lot of people in the activist community are really on pins and needles about who's next," Berglund said.
Protester Michelle Gross said a fourth home, this one in St. Paul, was being raided Saturday afternoon. Two people were outside the home in handcuffs while police awaited a search warrant, she said. St. Paul police spokesman Tom Walsh said a search warrant was being executed but could not confirm whether anyone had been arrested.
No jokes at the ready, just shivers up and down my state-wary spine.