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Minneapolis police chief orders union president to stop wearing uniform in interviews

Plus: Hillary Clinton talks to teachers in Minneapolis; Lake Elmo City Council member muzzled for math; woman charged with enslaving nanny denies all charges; and more.

Minneapolis Police union President Bob Kroll
MinnPost photo by Ibrahim Hirsi

Lou Raguse at KARE-TV reports, “Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau has ordered Police Federation President Bob Kroll to stop wearing his uniform when giving interviews in his capacity as labor union representative. In an email obtained by KARE 11, Harteau writes to Kroll, ‘As you know, by virtue of the clothing allowance, MPD uniforms are paid for by the city of Minneapolis. The City controls their use.’ When reached for comment, Kroll said, ‘That’s true. But I’ll be fighting that and winning.’ The email goes on to say, ‘As Chief of Police, I expect all MPD employees — particularly those in leadership ranks such as lieutenant — to set a good example for fellow MPD employees and a good example to the public. This letter is a reminder as well as a direct order that you wear your MPD uniform only for MPD-sanctioned purposes.’”

Gettin’ it good in Cleveland. Says Rachel Stassen-Berger in the PiPress, “At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the Minnesota delegates’ hotel is 25 miles from the convention hall, and no Minnesotan has nabbed a key speaking slot. In the convention’s list of prominent Republicans who have died since the last convention, the organization misspelled Republican U.S. Sen. Rod Grams’ name. And inside the convention hall, the Minnesota delegation’s position on the floor is just about as far from the stage as its hotel is from the Quicken Loans Arena.”

But not so good in Lake Elmo. Bob Shaw of the PiPress says, “A gag order has been imposed — again — on a Lake Elmo City Council member. The order punishes Justin Bloyer for saying in a public meeting that an $11 million mistake had been made in the city’s budget projections. The two-sentence comment during a May 17 meeting was seen by the council as an attack on finance director Cathy Bendel. Bloyer was already under a similar gag order, for making similar comments in September.” Given the high level of comedy out there, are council tickets SRO?

Hillary Clinton stopped in town. Writes the Star Tribune’s Maya Rao: “Clinton addressed thousands of members of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), who are meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center this week. The group is the second-largest teachers union in the country and the first to endorse her candidacy a year ago.”

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Meanwhile, MPR’s Brian Bakst has this on the Trump-a-thon in Cleveland. “Right out of the gate Monday, Minnesota’s delegation to the Republican National Convention heard calls to unify behind their presidential candidate, Donald Trump, despite misgivings among some in the party. The 38 delegates and an equal number of alternates got a breakfast pep talk from Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer before holding a private meeting about what kind of posture the delegation should take as the four-day convention in Cleveland kicks off. Of Minnesota’s delegates, eight are bound to Trump and the rest to other candidates. Addressing delegates at their hotel 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland, Emmer railed against a narrative that Trump faces long odds in his general-election contest against Hillary Clinton, partly because party factions have been slow to rally behind Trump.”

So what next? A 25 year-old baseball algorithm wizard? Following the firing of Terry Ryan, Mike Berardino of the PiPress writes, “Twins manager Paul Molitor and interim GM Rob Antony addressed the team in a pregame meeting, hours after the Twins announced they were relieving Ryan of his duties after he’d held the title for 18 of the past 22 seasons dating to September 1994. … Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said he was ‘very blindsided’ by the news, which was first conveyed to Molitor in a private meeting with owner Jim Pohlad and team president Dave St. Peter after Sunday’s home loss to the Cleveland Indians.”

Colleague Brian Murphy says, “Ryan’s fate was sealed last month when owner Jim Pohlad told him he would not be back in 2017. The Twins let him absorb the news and collaborate on a transition plan the club hoped Ryan would shepherd through the trade deadline. But there was no way the old-school baseball man was going to negotiate with his contemporaries as a lame duck. ‘OK, let’s get on with it,’ Ryan told Pohlad and president Dave St. Peter on Friday.”

At ESPN, David Schoenfield says, “ … it’s Sano, Buxton and Max Kepler that will have to form the nucleus of the Twins’ offense. But who else on this roster will be around for the next Twins’ playoff team? Brian Dozier is signed through 2018, but this team isn’t going to be competitive in the next two seasons, not with this pitching staff. Interim GM Rob Antony should consider trading Dozier, although the demand for a second baseman among the playoff contenders doesn’t appear high.The Twins should also considering cashing in on Nunez’s big first half. He’s under team control through 2017, but this is likely a career year and he doesn’t have the defensive chops to play shortstop on a full-time basis. Ervin Santana is a capable back-end starter right now, although given that he’s owed $28 million beyond 2016, he might not bring much of a return.” Oh hell, trade ‘em all for Mike Trout.

Finally, real progress in St. Paul. Says Jess Fleming in the PiPress, “World of Beer, a craft-beer-based tavern chain that started in Tampa, Fla., is now open in St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood. The restaurant and bar, located at 352 Sibley St., boasts more than 500 bottles of beer and 50 rotating taps. The franchise operates more than 75 taverns in 22 states. This is the first one in Minnesota. The menu includes burgers and other elevated pub grub like pork schnitzel, beer-can chicken, and a chicken and waffle sandwich.”

It never happened? ABC News on the Woodbury woman charged with enslaving a 58 year-old maid, “The attorney for a Minnesota woman accused of beating and starving a woman she brought from China to work as a nanny says his client denies the charges. Thirty-five-year-old Lili Huang of Woodbury is charged in Washington County with five felony counts, including labor trafficking, false imprisonment and assault. Huang’s attorney, Daniel S. Le, said Monday that his client ‘categorically denies the false allegations levied by a family friend and will be vindicated through our system of justice.’ The 58-year-old woman was found wandering in the street last week. According to the complaint, she was forced to work up to 18 hours a day doing child care, cooking and cleaning. Police calculate her pay at about $1.80 an hour.” And if you pay a guy to say it ain’t so it ain’t so.

Oh, man. Poor kid. The KMSP-TV story says, “A 3-year-old boy was found unresponsive after falling in a septic tank on Sunday night in Two Harbors, Minn. According to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, police were called to the area around 7:20 p.m. on a report of a child that had fallen into a septic tank. ‘The child was removed from the septic tank and was found unresponsive,’ the sheriff’s office stated.”

Need something new to worry about?  Tom Meersman at the Strib says, “Handling baby chicks or other young poultry can be dangerous to your health and has caused an upswing in illness from salmonella this year. The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed 19 cases of salmonella infections associated with live poultry contact between early April and early July, including three that required hospitalization.”

Yeah, better check the babysitter references again. Paul Walsh of the Strib, “A 22-year-old woman was stumbling around drunk while holding a toddler and responsible for the well-being of six youngsters on a swim outing at a municipal pool in Moorhead, according to child endangerment charges. Chelsea M. Gapp, who lives blocks from the pool, was charged last week in Clay County District Court with 12 gross-misdemeanor counts of child neglect and child endangerment.”

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A retired black cop, Robert Simon, has this to say in a Strib Commentary, “Let me start with Minneapolis Police Officers Federation President Lt. Bob Kroll. He said he commends the four cops who walked off the job at the Minnesota Lynx game after team members made a statement expressing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement … Well, did he even stop to think how the black officers in the department felt about his remarks? I am sure not all of them support what he said and feel trapped in the middle, as I do.”