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MPD’s new crime-fighting database concerns privacy advocates

Plus: the ordinary citizens suing the Trump administration; the U of M law professor suing Trump; birch thefts; and more.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau and Mayor Betsy Hodges
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

What do you have to hide? The Star Tribune’s Libor Jany reports: “Minneapolis police are about to gain access to vast amounts of new information that make it easier to connect local suspects to crimes committed in other states. … Thanks to the sprawling database, police are able to match a suspect’s name or photo against more than half a billion police records — all with the click of a mouse. … Police officials say that time saved can be critical in solving a case. But some advocates are concerned that the data have the potential for misuse.”

Minnesotan Mohamed Iye featured prominently in this New York Times report on lawsuits challenging Trump’s travel/immigration bans. Vivian Yee reports: “The papers each bore two names, one unknown, the other ubiquitous, facing off across the letter V. The V was important. It meant that in America, anyone could sue the president of the United States and hope to win. … In New York, there was Darweesh v. Trump. In Colorado, Hagig v. Trump. There was also Ali v. Trump, Zadeh v. Trump, Bayani v. Trump, Albaldawi v. Trump. … This was the same America whose president had tried to fence out the Darweeshes and the Zadehs of the world, declaring a ban on travelers from predominantly Muslim countries that trapped people in airports and interrupted lives. And the same America where an Ali or a Hagig could do what, back home, would have been the unthinkable: call a lawyer; stop the president.”

In a similar vein, Mpls.St.Paul has a profile of U of M law professor Richard W. Painter, who is also suing the president. Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl writes: “What’s a conservative, these days? A few years ago, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a more conservative conservative than Richard W. Painter. He was George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, teaches classes such as ‘Federal Securities Regulation’ at the University of Minnesota, and writes books with titles like Better Bankers, Better Banks: Promoting Good Business through Contractual Commitment. In the evenings he walks his labradoodle, Goalie, through the streets near his suburban home in Mendota Heights, and he ferries his kids to soccer, basketball, and music lessons, before returning home to his wife of 30 years. Conservative, right?  … Not this year. Today, Painter’s Twitter feed floods with critics calling him a RINO (Republican in name only) and far, far worse. That’s because he’s suing President Donald Trump for ethics violations, and he’s not shy about explaining why—doing so frequently on CNN and PBS NewsHour, and in The New York Times, The Hill, and other publications.”

Yet another ugly downside to your rustic chic look. The Duluth News Tribune’s John Myers reports: “Law enforcement officials in northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota say there’s been a recent rash of illegal cutting of small birch trees that are smuggled out of the Northland and sold as decorations in stores and online. … It’s not just a few trees, but thousands of small birch cut, bundled and carted away off public and private forests without any payment or permits. … The trees and limbs are making their way to wholesalers and then on to retailers where they are sold at stores and online as rustic, northwoods decorations for homes and events, especially weddings.”

In other news…

Frightening: “Authorities seek driver after shot fired in east metro road rage” [MPR]

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This is going to be ugly: “Minneapolis disputes ‘Rehab Addict’ star’s account of building permit cost” [Star Tribune]

In case you were wondering: “Franken on why he’s voting ‘no’ on Gorsuch” [MPR]

The day after Congress removed the protections: “Minnesota Senate passes internet privacy protections” [Pioneer Press]

Spoiler: talk to your teens. “Scott County Officials Take Different Approach to Tackling Teen Sexting” [KSTP]

Still very much Open for Business: “Wisconsin, 3M reach fine-free pollution settlement” []