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St. Paul settles police misconduct case for $2 million

Bad day for protecting and serving. In the PiPress, Tad Vezner reports, “A multimillion-dollar settlement — the largest involving police misconduct in St. Paul’s history — has been reached between the city and a man who was bitten and kicked by police forces last summer, according to an attorney involved in the case. Attorneys for Frank Arnal Baker said Monday that they have a verbal agreement with the city for $2 million for the case. The agreement, they noted, has yet to be signed by all parties.”

Then, there’s this guy. Also in the PiPress, Nick Ferraro reports, “A veteran Mendota Heights police officer has been suspended for inappropriately looking up driver’s license data of current and former co-workers, city council members, a girlfriend and others. Following a five-month internal affairs investigation, Mike Shepard was suspended on Feb. 17 for 30 days without pay. He was accused of misusing state driver and vehicle services data and for insubordination for discussing the investigation with the city’s mayor, according to city documents obtained by the Pioneer Press.”

It’s a long ways from anywhere up there. John Enger and Solvejg Wastvedt of MPR say, “It’s always been a challenge convincing young teachers to put down roots in remote northwestern Minnesota. But these days it’s an especially hard sell. The northland schools have struggled like never before to fill open jobs the past few years, said Bob Jaszczak, superintendent of the Kittson Central district. … Jaszczak’s kept a file on every teacher job opening the past three years in the region’s schools, how many people applied and how many of those who applied were actually qualified for the job. The numbers are bleak. Places like Hallock — a town of fewer than 1,000 within walking distance to the Canadian border — aren’t the first choice of most teachers looking for work.” On the upside: they are closer to affordable health care.

Related. Clare Kennedy at Finance & Commerce says, “Minnesota’s employers listed nearly 97,400 job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2016, a figure that suggests the state’s labor market is tight and may get tighter thanks to job growth and baby boomer retirements. The number of job vacancies grew modestly – about 1.3 percent over the same quarter in 2015, which follows trends of the last two years, said Oriane Casale, assistant director of the Labor Market Information Office at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.”

When you think Coors Light, do you think: Wayzata? Stribber Kelly Smith writes, “Minnesotans watching the NCAA Final Four this weekend may notice a familiar Lake Minnetonka city starring on TV. A Los Angeles production company last month shot a commercial for Coors Light in Wayzata, sending more than 50 film crew members to a city park for a day. With drones and cranes of lights, they filmed a 30-second ad that featured local hockey players in a pickup game on an iced-over ball field. ‘The first one I thought of was Wayzata, because it’s so pretty,’ said Anne Healy Shapiro, a location scout who told the production company to skip shooting in Denver.” Maybe a late aughts Louis Latour, but Coors Light?

It’s moving. The AP tells us, “The Dakota Access pipeline developer said Monday that it has placed oil in the pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota and that it’s preparing to put the pipeline into service. Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners made the announcement in a brief court filing with an appeals court in Washington, D.C. The filing did not say when the company expected the pipeline would be carrying oil from North Dakota to a shipping point in Illinois.”

The suits just keep on coming. Dan Kraker of MPR reports, “Environmental groups have filed a third lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service, attempting to overturn the agency’s January approval of a land exchange with PolyMet, a key step in the company’s bid to open the state’s first copper-nickel mine. The suit alleges the Superior National Forest illegally undervalued the land it agreed to swap with PolyMet. It was filed in U.S. District Court in St. Paul by the Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Center for Biological Diversity and the W.J. McCabe Chapter of the Izaak Walton League.”

$19 billion sounds like a lot. But Carrie McDermott in the Wahpeton Daily News says, “The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development released figures this week showing the state’s businesses exported $19 billion worth of agricultural, mining and manufactured products last year. It’s a 4 percent drop from 2015. Minnesota’s top two regional markets were Asia and North America, each accounting for approximately $6.4 billion in sales in 2016. Annual sales to Asia were unchanged from the previous year, while North American sales were down 7 percent, according to Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.”

Honorable mention: Buckthorn. Dave Orrick of the PiPress reports on a book about “The 10 Plants That Changed Minnesota.”  “[The book] takes its list from a 2012 conference of experts convened by the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. In their paperback, Mary Hockenberry Meyer, a professor of horticultural science at the U, and award-winning author Susan Davis Price, break down the list, after a foreword by former Gov. Arne Carlson.”

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/28/2017 - 10:04 am.

    Make ’em Pay

    This may not be politically correct, but I’ve always believed that there should be a cost to breaking the law as well as believing in personal responsibility. Maybe I’m just an old time conservative from another era. The $2M legal settlement should come from the police department budget. That could fill a lot of potholes, and I shouldn’t need to pay for front end damage to my Taurus just because someone is unprofessional.

    This would also serve as a safe guard for tax payers by making department heads more accountable for those under them.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 03/28/2017 - 11:28 am.

      Who pays

      The cop caught on video kicking the man was fired. But now, the police union is trying to get him his job back. Their lawyer calls the fired cop a “rising star” and refers to the cop who did the right thing and testified against him as a “cancer.” That’s what needs to be fixed.

    • Submitted by B. Dalager on 03/28/2017 - 12:20 pm.

      I feel like you would complain, though, if you got shot or your house was burglarized because the department had to reduce the number of police on the street due to a $2 million budget reduction. So.

    • Submitted by Rachel Goligoski on 03/29/2017 - 10:04 am.

      Insure the police

      There are groups working to require police to carry their own liability insurance (like doctors, contractors, drivers, etc). That way, their insurance would pay for the misconduct settlements instead of taxpayers. Even if officers’ salaries were increased to cover the cost of insurance, it would be cheaper for the city. is working in Minneapolis to make this happen.

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