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Minneapolis council member decries deficiencies in police body-camera policy

Plus: St. Paul likely to ban menthol tobacco products from most stores; calls to address Rochester affordable housing shortage; Leech Lake Band granted $3M for veterans cemetery; and more.

Minneapolis police body-worn cameras
MinnPost file photo by Bill Kelley

Work better when they’re turned on. The Star Tribune’s Libor Jany reports: “Minneapolis police officers frequently fail to turn on their body-worn cameras, a City Council member said Monday, a day before the release of an audit detailing their use. … That was among findings of a two-month examination of the department’s body camera program, said Council Member Linea Palmisano, who reviewed the report over the weekend. It shows that most of the problems stem from a lack of accountability for officers who don’t activate their cameras when responding to calls or turn them off without explanation, she said.

Harsh. The Pioneer Press’ Frederick Melo reports: “Tucked away inside a medical office building between Franklin and University avenues, the tiny Court Shoppe convenience stand doesn’t usually make a lot of waves. … These days, it’s not for lack of trying. Store owner Mike Murray penned a letter to St. Paul City Hall the other day that echoes the concerns of any number of retailers, both large and small. … To Murray’s chagrin, St. Paul may soon add menthol, mint, wintergreen and fruit to the list of flavored tobacco products that can only be sold in adults-only retail locations such as tobacco shops. … The ordinance amendment would effectively ban menthol cigarettes from most store shelves, including those of the Court Shoppe, which relies on menthol to boost its modest bottom line.”

Lack of affordable housing not just a Twin Cities problem. The Rochester Post-Bulletin’s Randy Petersen reports: “Members of CURE — Communities United for Rochester Empowerment — called for change in the city’s housing policy Monday as Rochester City Council member and city staff prepared to discuss the topic. … Amid chants and personal pleas prior to the council’s committee of the whole meeting, about 20 CURE members said the proposals fall short. … ‘We don’t want to say something is good enough if it’s not going to be effective,’ said Marian Aanerud, a CURE community organizer. … However, Interim City Administrator Gary Neumann cited limits on what the city can do as he presented options to the council moments later.

Nice. The AP reports (via MPR): “The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has a $3 million federal grant to construct a veterans cemetery in Cass Lake. … The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says Leech Lake Veterans Cemetery will be developed on three acres and serve nearly 3,000 tribal veterans and their families. … The grant will fund the construction of a main entrance, an administration and maintenance facility, a memorial wall and walk, an assembly and committal shelter, about 450 gravesites and 64 columbarium niches.”

In other news…

Cool idea: “Art project transforms 4 St. Paul skyway bridges and tells stories of new Americans” [Pioneer Press]

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They’re hooked: “Rosenblum: Minnesota inmates crochet way to redemption in Project Teddy Bear” [Star Tribune]

FYI: “Grant Hart memorial will take place in ‘a few months,’ associated event to support women artists” [The Current]

Commemorating three victims: “Duluth soil heading to national lynchings memorial” [Duluth News Tribune]

Also in difficult history: “Pine Bend Historical Marker returns to former Sioux village site” [Pioneer Press]