Student journalists say police targeted them after U. of Minnesota hockey win

MINNESOTA — Student journalists at The MinnesotaDaily covering riots following the University of Minnesota’snational hockey championship went from covering the news to becomingthe news last weekend.

Four student journalists — three photographers and a reporter– said they were taking photos and notes when they suddenly became the targetsof police officers. One photographer said she was hit with a riot stickafter an officer sprayed her with pepper spray. The other threejournalists were sprayed with a chemical irritant as well, accordingto reports in The Daily.

The Daily‘s editor, Mike Wereschagin, met with MinneapolisMayor R.T. Rybak and police Chief Robert Olson on Wednesday todiscuss the incidents and talk about ways to prevent them in thefuture.

"I’d like to see a reason why this happened, and I wantto see a concrete policy that this will never, ever happen again,"Wereschagin told The Daily.

Rybak and Olson agreed that changes needed to be made and vowedto investigate the matter. The police chief, seeking more contactwith The Daily, has invited the student newspaper to attenda bi-annual meeting between the police department and local mediaoutlets.

"They’re legitimate concerns," Olson said, accordingto The Daily.

The riots began after the university’s hockey team won theNCAA championship. According to reports in the Star Tribuneof Minneapolis, between 150 and 200 people took to the streets,damaging property, setting fires and throwing rocks and bottlesat police officers. More than 20 people were charged with disorderlyconduct.

While covering the riots, Daily photographer Diane Cebulasaid she was sprayed with a chemical by one officer and then hiton the head with a riot stick by another, The Daily reported.An associate editor at the paper, Maggie Hessel-Mial, said she saw theincident and rushed to help Cebula, but she too was sprayed.

View a photo of a Minneapolis police officer spraying members of the press, courtesy of The Minnesota Daily.