Yanez trial opens; defense lawyers says officer ‘feared for his life’

Jeronimo Yanez
Jeronimo Yanez

It begins in earnest. For Reuters, Todd Melby reports on the Jeronimo Yanez trial. “The Minnesota policeman who shot and killed a black motorist last year feared for his life and was simply trying to protect himself, his lawyer said on Monday at the start of the officer’s trial on second-degree manslaughter charges. … Richard Dusterhoft, assistant Ramsey County attorney, in brief opening remarks, played the police dashboard video of the traffic stop, during which Castile told Yanez he had a gun and, in response to a warning, said that he was not pulling it out. Yanez fired seven shots and hit Castile five times, including twice in the heart, Dusterhoft said. ‘He didn’t tell him to freeze,’ Dusterhoft said of Yanez.”

Dayton joins alliance. David Montgomery’s PiPress story says, “Gov. Mark Dayton added Minnesota to the alliance of governors committed to reducing carbon emissions despite President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the 2015 Paris climate accord. Dayton is one of 12 state governors so far in the United States Climate Alliance, whose members commit to reduce carbon emissions significantly by 2025. The alliance was formed after Trump announced last week that he would pull the U.S. out of the international climate change agreement.”

Duluth. Where the seasons can change in half an hour. MPR’s Ron Trenda writes, “Something odd happened on the shore of Lake Superior Sunday: The temperature dropped 27 degrees in just 21 minutes. The temperature was 81 degrees at 2:53 p.m., and it dropped to 54 degrees at 3:14 p.m., according to measurements at Sky Harbor Airport in Duluth … The most impressive temperature change in U.S. weather records occurred on January 22, 1943 in Spearfish, S.D. The temperature rose 49 degrees in just two minutes in Spearfish that day. A couple hours later, it dropped 58 degrees in 27 minutes.”

There’s a dense chunk of bureaucratic runaround in this tale. Says Josh Verges of the PiPress, “A judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit brought by a substitute teacher who claims she was blacklisted by St. Paul Public Schools for speaking to the media about a student assault. Candice Egan says a seventh-grader at Creative Arts Secondary School seriously injured her in March 2016 after she took away his cell phone. … Egan further claimed that after she described the incident to a Pioneer Press reporter, the St. Paul district directed Teachers on Call to stop assigning her to jobs in their schools. … The district maintains that it was human resources director Laurin Cathey who made that decision. They cited past legal decisions in which a government body was not held liable for the actions of a subordinate employee.” Riiight.

And this from Thomas Hearth in The Washington Post, on America’s most (and least) admired companies, according to the annual Barron’s survey. “No. 1 is Alphabet, the parent company of Google, the search engine behemoth that dominates global advertising. Serial inventor Apple is No. 2, followed by online retail giant Amazon.com (its chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns The Washington Post) at No. 3. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is No. 4. No. 5 is Microsoft, the tech granddaddy whose stock has soared under the leadership of chief executive Satya ­Nadella after sputtering for more than a decade. … The biggest loser this year is Wells Fargo, the San Francisco financial giant that held the No. 7 spot as recently as 2015 but this year turned up at No. 100.” Well, it’s not like they didn’t earn it.

Franken ain’t going. Dave Itzkoff’s story in The New York Times says, “Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, said on Monday that he was canceling a guest appearance, scheduled for Friday, on the HBO late-night show ‘Real Time With Bill Maher ‘after an incident last Friday in which Mr. Maher used a racial epithet during an interview with Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska. A spokesman for Mr. Franken said in a statement, ‘What Bill Maher said was inappropriate and offensive, which is why he made the decision not to appear on the next episode of ‘Real Time.’ He was glad to see Bill, who the senator considers to be a good friend, apologize and express sincere regret for his comment.’”

Not a lot of spending power for a quarter of a million people. Says the AP, “A new report from state labor officials shows that about 15 percent of hourly employees in Minnesota make the minimum wage of $9.50 an hour, or less. The Department of Labor and Industry report shows there are about 1.6 million hourly workers in Minnesota and 31 percent work in restaurants, bars and other eating and drinking places. Thirty-eight percent of those workers get tips, overtime or commissions.”

You’ll take the money. Or else! Another AP story says, “A government watchdog organization is seeking a court order to ensure Minnesota lawmakers get a $14,000 raise. Voters set legislators’ first raise since 1999 in motion last fall by approving a constitutional amendment that handed power to set salaries off to an independent council. That council decided to hike their pay from roughly $31,000 to $45,000. But House Speaker Kurt Daudt said he’d block the raise and lawmakers didn’t set aside money to cover it. The Association for Government Accountability filed its petition to force those paychecks in Ramsey County court Monday.”

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