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Castile family attorney demands special prosecutor, promises lawsuit

Plus: mayor calls out police union head for ‘jackass comments’; butterflies are disappearing from the Midwest; Gold’n Plump parent company pledges to go antibiotics free; and more.

In The New York Times, Mitch Smith says, “A lawyer for the family of Philando Castile, a black man fatally shot by a suburban police officer last week, called on Tuesday for a special prosecutor to take over the case and promised that a lawsuit would be filed against those responsible for his death. The lawyer, Glenda Hatchett, also said she wanted ‘to make sure that the federal government is watching closely what has happened and what will happen.’ Many, including Minnesota’s governor, have called for a separate investigation by the Justice Department, but so far federal officials have promised only to monitor the inquiry by the state authorities.”

Brian Bakst and Tim Nelson at MPR say, “Without providing details, Hatchett said the family will sue and promised an aggressive investigation beyond the current one by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. She also said that police scanner traffic that’s turned up on social media purporting to be from just before the Castile stop has not been authenticated. The family, she said, will ask for ‘a comprehensive evaluation of laws’ that oversee how police officers are hired and trained and how citizen complaints are handled, in Minnesota and across the country.”

Hodges. City Pages’ Mike Mullen writes about Minneapolis Mayor Betsey Hodges response to police union head Bob Kroll ‘commending’ cops for walking off the job as off-duty security for the Lynx. “On Tuesday, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges offered a helpful reminder to her constituents that Kroll’s is not an official city position — and she doesn’t stand behind a word he says.  … Hodges blasted back with a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon. ‘Bob Kroll’s remarks about the Lynx are jackass remarks. Let me be clear: labor leadership inherently does not speak on behalf of management. Bob Kroll sure as hell doesn’t speak for me about the Lynx or about anything else.'”

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Yeah, do you think? Also at MPR, Nelson writes, “Last week’s fatal police shooting of Philando Castile has renewed calls in the Minnesota Legislature for stricter training and oversight requirements for local law enforcement agencies. … State Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, introduced legislation last session that would address many of the same issues. His proposals … are based on recommendations made last year by President Barack Obama’s task force on community policing. He wants to require cities and counties to set strict training guidelines aimed at creating more positive police encounters with the public. ”

The Glean

Might want to keep a sharp eye on this one. Says Stribber Paul Walsh, “Four online fundraising campaigns on a popular website have so far raised roughly $300,000 in less than a week on behalf of the loved ones of Philando Castile, the black man who was fatally shot by a police officer in Falcon Heights. In their few days of existence, each GoFundMe page has been peppered with questions about their legitimacy and whether the money will actually go to the stated recipients and not into the pockets of bad actors.” Of which there are plenty.

MIA: butterflies. MPR’s Dan Gunderson of MPR reports, “Erik Runquist saw it for a moment, then it was gone. Walking a tract of Nature Conservancy-owned prairie outside Moorhead, Runquist caught a glimpse of a Dakota skipper, a thumbnail-sized, orange and brown butterfly. It perched atop a coneflower before disappearing into the prairie grass. … Fifteen years ago or so, it wasn’t so hard to spot a Dakota skipper in Minnesota. But something’s changed. Butterflies that once numbered in the millions have virtually disappeared from Upper Midwest prairies.”

Also at MPR: Solvejg Wastvedt says, “The St. Paul school board called a special election Tuesday to replace a board member who resigned in June. Board member Jean O’Connell resigned in protest of the board’s decision to fire St. Paul Superintendent Valeria Silva. Remaining board members plan to hold a special election Nov. 8 to fill O’Connell’s seat. In the meantime, the board plans to start an application process for an interim member. Applications will be accepted over the next week, and the board will conduct interviews August 2.” 

Forum News Service coverage of Monday’s storms, by Don Davis, says, “Minnesota officials activated the state emergency operations center Tuesday to deal with weather issues. They were watching the rivers rise in locations such as Fort Ripley and Aitkin, where they were expected to be above flood stage. By midday, boat landings and other low areas already were under water. Flood warnings for some areas were expected to remain in effect through into the weekend. Some of the worst flooding was in the Brainerd Lakes area and between St. Cloud and Hinckley.”

The Brainerd Dispatch says, “Given the dire flash flood warnings, rapidly deteriorating conditions and torrential rains Monday night, Crow Wing County officials expected the worst as dawn approached Tuesday. But the Aitkin area appeared to be experiencing the brunt of Monday’s torrential rains. County Engineer Tim Bray told the Crow Wing County Board Tuesday the situation was more manageable than initially thought. The Brainerd lakes area was not, however, immune to the fallout from rainfall totals as high as 8.9 inches within less than 24 hours. The National Weather Service forecast office in Duluth listed July’s rainfall to date as record-setting for total precipitation with less than half the month gone.”

Today in entrepreneurs gone rogue: Dan Browning of the Strib writes, “A former controller for the Cold Spring Brewing Co. was indicted Thursday for allegedly stealing his sister-in-law’s identity in a scheme that bilked more than $350,000 from the brewery, and $330,000 from investors in a separate Ponzi scheme.”

In a commentary ex-Strib reporter Bob Von Sternberg writes, “Today’s assassinations, by cops or of cops, are no more comprehensible than the everyday carnage of gunfire that has almost ceased to be considered news. Blacks and whites mostly keep to their side of a divide even wider and deeper than it was in 1968. … Granted, the particulars of these two times don’t correspond, but history’s chaos, horror and madness certainly seem to rhyme.”

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Humane, up until the moment of slaughter. Says Kristen Leigh Painter of the Strib, “The Midwest’s leading chicken producer is lowering antibiotics usage and making its barns less crowded, responding to consumer concerns about the industry. GNP Co., the St. Cloud-based maker of the Gold’n Plump and Just Bare chicken brands, said Tuesday it will ‘never-ever’ use antibiotics on its chickens — from egg to death — under the new ‘no antibiotics-ever’ label.”