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Dozens arrested after protest shuts down Interstate 94

Plus: Minneapolis Mayor Hodges calls for federal investigation into Jamar Clark shooting; Dayton opens door to refugees; Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee think Minnesota is too cold for people from Syria; and more.

Mayor Betsy Hodges, center, asking for a civil rights investigation into the shooting of Jamar Clark during a Monday press conference.
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Black Lives Matter protesters briefly shut down I-94 last night. MPR says, “Hundreds of people protesting the weekend shooting of a black man by a Minneapolis police officer brought traffic to a halt on Interstate 94 Monday night. Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Schweigart says 43 adults and 8 juveniles who refused multiple orders to disperse were arrested. She says those being arrested were cooperative and no use of force was required. The northbound lanes of the highway were closed for about two and a half hours.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Betsy Hodges is asking for a civil rights investigation into the shooting of Jamar Clark. The Star Tribune reports: “The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division were called into the investigation less than two days after Clark was shot by officers responding to a disturbance call across the street from the Elks Lodge, a popular neighborhood hangout less than two blocks from the precinct station. The decision to invite a federal probe differed from other high-profile officer-involved shootings across the country that festered, sometimes for weeks, before outside agencies were called in. In a letter to Justice Department officials, Hodges wrote that she and Harteau have “utmost faith” in the state investigation but that they believe a federal probe will assist ‘the interests of transparency and community confidence.’”

Across the river, for the PiPress, David Montgomery reports, “Refusing to join more than a dozen governors blocking their states from accepting Syrian refugees, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he is assured that Minnesotans can be kept safe with its current system. … On Monday, Republican candidates for president and a group of mostly Republican governors said the incident was reason enough for the United States to close its borders to Syrians.”

As usual, the reaction went pretty much along straight party lines. Ricardo Lopez of the Strib says, “In the aftermath of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt said the U.S. should halt the acceptance of Syrian refugees until screening procedures ‘are thorough enough to prevent terrorists from entering our state.’”

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Our former favorite GOP presidential candidate from a neighboring state is also a solid “no.” Says Jessie Opoien of Madison’s Capital Times, “Gov. Scott Walker on Monday joined a growing list of governors whose states will not accept new Syrian refugees. ‘In light of these horrific and tragic attacks, our first priority must be to protect our citizens. Along with governors across the country, I have deep concerns about the Obama Administration’s plan to accept 10,000 or more Syrian refugees, especially given that one of the Paris attackers was reportedly a Syrian refugee’ … Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, are circulating a letter to be sent to President Barack Obama’s administration stating their opposition to allowing Syrian refugees in Wisconsin until steps are taken to ensure the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can thoroughly vet refugees entering the country.” 

Speaking of irrational hatred. Dara Lind at Vox says, “Mike Huckabee said in an interview on John Gibson’s Fox News Radio show today that the United States shouldn’t be taking in Syrian refugees because it is cold in Minnesota. … The best thing about this statement is that it refutes itself. Minnesota is actually one of the most welcoming states in the country when it comes to refugees. In the 1980s, the Minneapolis–St. Paul area became the top destination in the US for Hmong refugees from Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War. And starting in the 1990s, Minnesota has been one of the leading destinations for Somali refugees as well.”

Predictably, Donald Trump got this meme going. Gabby Morrongiello of the occasionally reliable Washington Examiner says, “Donald Trump suggested during his latest campaign rally Monday that the refugees coming from Syria to the U.S. will be miserable in Minnesota’s climate. ‘A friend of mine lives in Minnesota and he calls me up and he says, ‘Can you imagine, it’s 130 degrees in Syria and now they want to send some of them up to Minnesota where it’s 30 degrees,’ the Republican presidential hopeful told thousands of supporters in Knoxville, Tenn. ‘These people are going to be very very unhappy,’ he added. ‘It’s cold, and beautiful, but it’s cold.’

Documents proving what most of us have long assumed saw the light of day yesterday. Dan Kraker of MPR writes, “For the first time, attorneys involved in sexual abuse cases against priests have released internal documents from the Diocese of Duluth. The documents were exhibits in a recent civil lawsuit against the diocese in which a jury awarded nearly $8.2 million to a survivor of clergy sex abuse. They pertain to four priests who served in the Duluth diocese in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. All four have since died. Attorney Michael Finnegan, who represents several plaintiffs in clergy sexual abuse cases, said they appear to show that the Duluth diocese was willing to give a second chance to clergy who had been sent to facilities that treat priests accused of sexual abuse.”

This sounds too much like muskie farming. Says MPR, “Minnesota officials are seeking public input on expanding muskellunge stocking to select lakes, including Big Marine Lake in the east metro. But while the DNR says muskie fishing is taking off, stocking has been controversial in some lakes. Besides Big Marine, lakes being considered for expansion next year include the Fairmont chain in Martin County and Gull chain in Cass County. Two chains of lakes in Otter Tail County — Franklin and Lizzie chain, and Loon chain — are under consideration, although no more than one of the three lakes within those chains will be chosen … .” Next, Minnehaha Creek.

Be the first on your block to form a team. Wes Siler at writes, “Combining cross-disciplinary skills from a diverse array of sports — water skiing, basketball and butterfly catching — skarping doesn’t just look like a lot of fun, it helps the environment too. The asian carp is an invasive species injuring boatmen across the midwest. … . They make great dog food. Industrious local businessmen have responded to the threat with good ol’ fashioned capitalism, devising fun new methods to catch the fish and charging people for the privilege of killing them. This video was created by Peoria Carp Hunters, which takes clients bow fishing on the Illinois River using a custom pontoon boat specially modified to get the carp jumping, and protect the occupants from the result.”