5 people charged in PedalPub water balloon attack

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Five people accused of throwing water balloons and shooting squirt guns at several PedalPub riders in downtown Minneapolis Saturday evening have been charged with various misdemeanor crimes in Hennepin County court, the Star Tribune reports.

They, along with a sixth person who was arrested but not charged, approached two PedalPubs on bicycles, sprayed the passengers and drivers with water from squirt guns and threw water balloons at them, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

They approached a third PedalPub, which happened to be occupied by several off-duty police officers from Burnsville. Those officers chased them down and subdued them until Minneapolis police arrived.

Those charged were Francis W. Bellanger, 26, of Minneapolis; Jason L. Carlton, 42, of Minneapolis; Mark W. Dean, 31, of St. Paul; Kurtis W. Johnson, 31, of Inver Grove Heights; and John D. Rock Jr., 24, of Shakopee., according to the Pioneer Press.

Rock is charged with fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct, Johnson with fifth-degree assault, and the other three with disorderly conduct.

The water attack was planned ahead of time on Facebook, with the participants meeting at Loring Park for a “bicycle raid on the pedal pub with squirt guns and a ton of water balloons.”

This video posted to YouTube shows the tail end of the incident, where the Burnsville officers are subduing the suspects; many commenters called the water attacks harmless, and said the officers overreacted.

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Burnsville Police Chief Eric Gieseke said he's asked Minneapolis police to review the incident, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Facebook group called I Hate the Pedal Pub responded to this incident with a post saying in part: “I have received a few messages that some people have pursued pedal pubs today with squirt guns and water balloons. Wrong idea guys. Although getting wet is mostly harmless, it is still considered assault.”

The Star Tribune asks, only half-jokingly, why people seem to hate Pedal Pubs, and came up with a number of reasons: The riders can be noisy after they've had a few drinks; the vehicles move slowly and can get in the way of traffic; and the passengers sometimes "leave unwelcome bodily fluids in their wake."

Social media is also fueling some of the disdain, the newspaper notes, with the aforementioned I Hate Pedal Pubs Facebook page as a prominent example of that.

Indeed, Twitter was full of snarky comments about the water "attacks" and the arrests over the past few days. Here's a sample:

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