You’re not really surprised, are you? A grand jury found no reason to indict two Minneapolis cops in the shooting death of a 22 year-old this past spring. Brandt Williams’ MPR story says: “Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said grand jurors heard testimony from 19 witnesses, including 11 sworn officers, about what happened in the basement of an uptown Minneapolis home where [Terrence] Franklin was shot and killed. … Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau Thursday night said in a statement that she supported her officers and agreed with the grand jury’s finding.”
In the Strib, Abby Simons and Matt McKinney write: “Ignoring police calls to surrender in favor of a final, frantic showdown, Terrence Franklin charged at police officers and knocked one to the floor, setting off an all-out brawl in the darkened basement of an Uptown house seconds before he was killed, according to a police account released Thursday evening. … Among the details released Thursday: Franklin was shot eight times by two different officers. He charged at an officer who was armed with an MP5 machine gun, knocking that officer to the floor and gaining control of the officer’s gun. He fired twice, hitting two officers in the legs. Both officers survived but have not yet fully recovered from their injuries. … [Franklin family attorney Mike Padden] anticipates holding a news conference where he will reveal what he claims is a damning piece of evidence that supports his claims that Franklin was wrongfully killed. He wouldn’t say what it was, but hinted that it could be in connection with video shot by a man who lives across the street from the house where Franklin died.”
Rarely an encouraging sign … Mila Koumpilova of the PiPress writes: “The St. Paul public school district has pulled out of tense contract negotiations with its teachers union. After only several sessions, the district said Thursday that it will ask a state mediator to help settle the two-year contract. After lengthy talks in 2011, the St. Paul Federation of Teachers called for a mediator for the first time in two decades. To boos from gathered teachers, district officials walked out of a negotiation session after stating that the talks had become untenable and unproductive. Earlier this week, the union angered the district after rejecting a proposal to join the state’s Quality Compensation program. The Q-Comp response was ‘the last straw,’ said Matthew Mohs, the district’s chief academic officer.”
On the vote in Congress to cut back on food stamps … another straight party line. Corey Mitchell’s Strib story says: “In the Minnesota delegation, support for the legislation split along party lines with Republican U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, John Kline and Erik Paulsen backing the bill. Democratic U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan and Tim Walz cast ‘no’ votes. … Republican lawmakers said the bill is designed to make sure that the unemployed try to support themselves rather than rely on government benefits. The government spent close to $80 billion on the food stamp program last year. Opponents have said that while the House bill requires people to work or participate in job training to get food stamps, the legislation doesn’t require states to provide funding for job training programs. … In Minnesota, the number of SNAP participants has increased about 90 percent in the past five years, rising from 289,000 to 550,000. Nationally, participation has increased 70 percent over that same period.”
Not exactly an executive order … more like a plea. Graydon Royce’s Strib story on the latest Minnesota Orchestra developments says: “Gov. Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak urged musicians and management of the Minnesota Orchestra to settle on a contract. ‘Get in a room and talk to each other,’ Rybak said at a Thursday news conference, echoing comments he made last week. ‘There is no excuse not to sit at a table and get this solved now.’ Dayton revealed that he had met with each side separately last week and delivered the same message — that they must meet with mediator George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader. Dayton said he has been in phone contact with Mitchell frequently in the last few days, but did not know whether negotiating sessions had been scheduled for this week.”
In the New York Times, James Oestreich says: “It promises to be a bizarre scene. On Friday evening, the Minnesota Orchestra will hold a fund-raising ball in Orchestra Hall, which is just reopening after renovations costing some $50 million. … From an upper level on Friday, wealthy donors will look out at the skyline through an array of floor-to-ceiling windows. And at street level, they will look out at a demonstration through a low-slung row of windows extending the length of the facade: a rally by supporters of the orchestra’s players, who have been locked out of their jobs for almost a year, protesting the musicians’ treatment by the orchestra’s management and board. … there has been ‘soft interest’ from unspecified quarters in the notion of having the players stage their own Sibelius concerts with Mr. Vanska at Carnegie, free of management involvement, as unlikely as that may seem.”
Don Davis’ story for the Forum papers says: “An election to unionize some Minnesota child care providers will be delayed. The National Right to Work Foundation said Thursday evening that a federal appeals court stopped implementation of a new state law that would allow child care providers to decide if they want to join a union. The foundation released the information after courts had closed for the day. ‘The court ruled to delay implementation of the law pending the outcome of a National Right to Work Foundation-led challenge pending at the U.S. Supreme Court of a similar law passed in Illinois,’ Foundation Vice President Patrick Semmens said. The high court has not scheduled a date when it will hear the Illinois case.” And who pays Mr. Semmens?
Another set of glitches for MNsure … At MPR, Elizabeth Stawicki and Catharine Richert write: “MNsure wants Ruby Lee’s organization to spread the word to Latino communities about the state’s new health insurance. But MNsure, she says, is not making it easy. With MNsure’s opening less than two weeks away, Lee’s contract with MNsure wasn’t finalized until Monday. She won’t tap any of the nearly $100,000 contract funding until MNsure approves her overall spending plan. Lee said delays at MNsure have prevented her from hiring anyone to assist consumers with enrollment, and she has no idea when she can start training those people once she does hire them. The compressed timeline, she said, is ‘disrespectful’ to organizations like hers, Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, that will do much of the work helping more than 1 million Minnesotans get health insurance through the exchange.” Uh-oh. The “d” word.
Unless the cops are just letting them go, this is good news. Mary Lynn Smith of the Strib says: “Juvenile arrests in Minnesota have plummeted nearly 60 percent since they peaked in 1998, according to a state report released Thursday. It’s a turnaround that likely can be attributed in part to a shift in philosophy in how to deal with juvenile crime, said Dana Swayze, juvenile justice analyst with the Office of Justice Programs in the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. ‘There’s more focus on prevention,’ she said. ‘It’s helping offenders repair the harm that they’ve done, re-integrate them into the community and addressing the underlying factors that brought them into the juvenile system. … According to the report, juvenile arrests in Minnesota increased 150 percent from 1982 to 1998. What was more troubling to policymakers was a surge in violent crime among youths, where arrests jumped from 737 in 1980 to 2,093 in 1998.”