2 arrested in taped assaults posted on YouTube
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A man gets shoved off a bicycle and crashes to the pavement. An unsuspecting jogger gets thrown to the ground. A young child is pushed down a hill, and a man who is simply walking down the sidewalk gets violently tackled from ...
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A man gets shoved off a bicycle and crashes to the pavement. An unsuspecting jogger gets thrown to the ground. A young child is pushed down a hill, and a man who is simply walking down the sidewalk gets violently tackled from behind.
St. Paul police said Wednesday they have arrested two people in connection with these and other apparently random assaults videotaped and briefly posted on YouTube. The video was no longer on the site Wednesday.
``It's obviously extremely concerning behavior,' said Sgt. Paul Schnell, St. Paul police spokesman. ``It goes directly at people's sense of fear. ... It would shake a person, from the standpoint of becoming a random target.
``It has been very disturbing.'
A 19-year-old from Oakdale and a 17-year-old, both males, were arrested late Tuesday. The man was being held on suspicion of aiding and abetting simple robbery, while the teen was being held in a juvenile detention center on suspicion of simple robbery and gross misdemeanor assault, Schnell said. Neither had been formally charged Wednesday.
Schnell said police were seeking additional suspects. There are eight young men shown on the video, and Schnell said ``some of them had different levels of involvement. Some of them obviously had no involvement in the assault or attacking behavior. ... We have two other people clearly of interest.'
The six-minute video is titled ``Watch This T.V.,' Episode 1. It opens with music and shows eight young men or teens walking down the street. One-by-one, they mug for the camera, while their names and nicknames -- like ``Shark,' ``Gun Play,' or ``Jig Saw' -- flash on the screen.
After the opening, one of the men looks directly into the camera, says ``watch this' and runs off -- then pushes someone off a bike. Many of the other attacks happen in similar ways -- with just one man looking into the camera, then attacking someone.
In one case, a pedestrian gets a hat ripped off of his head. In another, the victim fights back and throws a punch at his attacker. Some of the victims appear to be elderly or children.
``This is real,' Schnell said of the attacks. ``There is no doubt. This was not staged.'
Police learned of the video this week from concerned citizens. One citizen posted a link to the video on the St. Paul Police Department's Facebook page, saying ``i think should be a great concern to you guys.'
Schnell said that since Tuesday, police have received at least three reports from members of the public who said they were randomly attacked, shoved or pushed down. Some of these attacks were documented in the YouTube video, while others were not but were likely also videotaped, Schnell said.