Today in protecting and serving. Says Brandon Stahl of the Star Tribune: “Ex-Minneapolis police officer Christopher Reiter will serve six months in a county workhouse for kicking a man in the face during an arrest after a judge told him Tuesday that he ‘abused his position of trust and committed a serious assault.’ Reiter, 37, was on duty in May 2016 when he kicked Mohamed Osman in the face during a domestic assault call in May 2016, knocking him unconscious and causing a traumatic brain injury from which he still suffers.”
Not a good look. Chris Serres of the Strib says: “The Minnesota Department of Health has fired one of its top administrators, triggering fresh concerns about the agency’s handling of allegations of criminal abuse in senior homes. Nancy A. Omondi was terminated last month as director of the department’s health regulation division, which oversees state investigations of abuse in senior care facilities. Omondi alleges she was fired in retaliation for filing a complaint about ‘misconduct and bullying’ in her division, as well as high staff turnover, her attorney said Tuesday.… The call for a fresh investigation comes a month after the Star Tribune published a five-part series chronicling breakdowns in the state’s handling of elder abuse investigations.”
Related. Picking up a KSTP-TV story, the AP writes: “A facility that offers residential services for people with disabilities in southeast Minnesota has been cited by the state for neglect of a vulnerable adult. KSTP-TV reports that the Minnesota Department of Human Services alleges the person’s gums grew over removable dentures over a period of almost three years while at REM River Bluffs in Rochester. A department report says the dentures had to be forcibly removed by a dentist in October. Staff members at the Rochester facility say turnover contributed to the individual not getting annual dental care as required.”
No change in crime lab — for now. MPR’s Peter Cox reports: “Hennepin County’s crime lab remains part of the sheriff’s office, after the sheriff made a stir over a proposal to make it an independent entity. Hennepin County Commissioner Marion Greene, who introduced the proposal as a budget amendment, said it is important that the board looks at the crime lab and its governance, possibly early next year. …Greene agreed to slow down the process, but said she still believes changes should be made. She doesn’t want the office answerable to law enforcement, and for that matter, attorney’s offices.”
All the usual suspects are here. CNN says, “Despite years of efforts to even out health disparities across the United States, some states are dramatically healthier than others, according to a new report. Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Utah and Connecticut rank as the five healthiest states, while West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi rank the least healthy in America’s Health Rankings, according to the report by the United Health Foundation.” Minnesota was No. 6.
Says Jim Spencer in the Strib, “Some members of the House Ways and Means Committee, including Minnesota Republican Erik Paulsen, want to suspend collection of a medical device tax for five more years. Paulsen and Republican colleague Jackie Walorski of Indiana on Tuesday introduced a bill to keep the tax from being collected through 2022. The proposal comes as time runs out on the current two-year moratorium that stopped device companies from having to pay a 2.3 percent sales tax on gross receipts in 2016 and 2017. ‘Full repeal is my top priority,’ Paulsen said.” No kidding.
Nobody said the future was gonna be pretty. MPR’s Tim Nelson reports: “The Minnesota Department of Transportation has seen the future, and it looks like a super-sized picnic cooler with windows and wheels. The agency unveiled its 12-passenger Easymile test bus Tuesday, trundling around a 2.5-mile test track in Monticello at a little over 3 miles per hour. It’s the center of a four-month, $200,000 test of autonomous vehicles that will also feature a very limited, block-long test in downtown Minneapolis the week before the Super Bowl in February.”
Dang. An MPR story says, “It was a feel-good story for a little while. Bloomington police Monday tweeted that an officer had been able to rescue a snowy owl that had been hit and injured by a car driving on Interstate 494. Police said the creature had ended up lodged in the vehicle’s grill but that it had sustained only minor injuries. On Tuesday, though, the department acknowledged ‘our snowy owl friend’ had died.”