When the dogs are wearing bulletproof vests…


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A 2021 update: Found this story cleaning up my rants (deleting the really bad/boring ones mainly). I didn’t name any names at the time (and won’t now exactly), but all the businesses are gone now. The print shop closed years ago, and both the precinct where the officers came from and the nightclub around the corner burned down last year. Along with a lot of other businesses on the south Minneapolis block where I worked. 

So relatively quiet work day, really. Except I got into work and found out my bosses’ last house (that they still owned) caught on fire. So when they got home last night, they found a letter from a neighbor telling them about it. They were not in a good mood all day.

And I have a sore throat and no idea why. I’m completely grumpy about that.

Oh yeah. One other thing.

Around 11 AM a man and woman came through to get into the business that we share a front entrance and foyer (of sorts) with, as well as a back bathroom/hallway area. Which is nothing weird. The space next door is empty and people are often traipsing through our place to get to it (it’s for lease).

So they were back there for a bit and then came back up and disappeared out the front door, only to return moments later with a police officer. Which—again—not unheard of. They could have been inspecting the space for safety or something.

And I totally stuck to that theory. Until they left again and came back with two more officers. My boss finally got the idea to open the front door to the empty side so they could stop coming through our place.

Which turned out to be a really really smart thing. Because more cop cars started to pull in and more officers started congregating right outside the front of our building.

And then more cops. And more.

At one point there were maybe twelve cop cars right outside and 15 cops milling around and I’m thinking, “Okay, probably not a health code violation.”

But they weren’t moving in. One of our customers said she heard an officer say, “Alright, time to put your shit on.” Which was most likely why a few minutes later they started donning bulletproof vests.

And I’m still thinking, “Eh, standard procedure. No big deal.”

Until the camoflauge helmets came out.

And then the flak jackets. And the battering rams. And the assault rifles.

By the time I noticed that even the dogs were wearing body armor, I wondered if maybe I should be as well.

And all this time customers are coming in and out and in and out and I’m thinking there’s going to be a running gun battle waged shortly.

Eventually the police all went in to the business next door—presumably to arrest whoever they were looking for. Which turned out to be another tenant who owns a large nightclub in the attached building.

And they were clearly not searching for just a person. They were up into the ceilings and rifling through toiletries in the bathroom (including my bosses’ hiding spot for tampons which mortified her to no end—although I slightly suspect she kept her weed up there.).

Rumor has it they found the guy, but not in our side of the building (they had all the exits covered). Totally disappointed about that.

After things settled down and the cops de-geared and drove off, things went back to normal. And then the story started to roll in from other tenants.

I asked the bosses who the couple was that came in first. Turns out the man was a sergeant or something who was organizing the raid. And the woman? Arrested Guy’s wife.

They got into a big fight (a naked indiscretion may or not have been the subject) and her revenge was narcing him out, all the while claiming she knew nothing of his less-than-legal activities. According to neighbor buzz, anyway.

Anyway, later in the day, my boss said, “Well now you have something to tell Ramona.” I laughed and said that I actually had something to write about and told her about my rant. So as I was leaving for the night she said, “When you write about this, don’t forget to mention the short, fat guy with the gun.”

How could I refuse?

Shortly after the SWAT team dispersed, this guy showed up—short, fat—and said he was the lawyer representing the building’s owner. He was wandering around in the back and once in awhile would pop in and talk with us. And then he’d wander out the front door. So we’d figure he was gone. Ten minutes later he’d pop up again. And this happened like eight times. Just when you thought he was gone: bam. There he was again.

Once he had—finally—gone, I was talking with the boss and she was like, What sort of lawyer needs to carry a gun? Which I hadn’t noticed. But really, what sort of lawyer does need to carry a gun?