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Family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond to sue Minneapolis

Plus: how law enforcement fails victims of sexual assault in Minnesota; dockless bikes show up in Edina; Lakeville man pleads guilty to transporting thousands of THC-laced gummies; and more.

Justine Ruszczyk Damond
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Says Erin Adler at the Strib, “The family of a woman shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer a year ago plans to file a lawsuit Monday that Twin Cities attorneys predict could lead to a multimillion-dollar payout from the city. Attorney Robert Bennett said Sunday that he will file the civil rights complaint in federal court on behalf of Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk. Bennett would not talk about the details on Sunday, saying he would hold a news conference Monday afternoon.”

The first installment of the Star Tribune big series on the lax investigation of rape cases in Minnesota caught the attention of Whitney Kimball at Jezebel. “An excellent and totally disheartening report by the Star Tribune has found that law enforcement has consistently and utterly failed victims of sexual assault in Minnesota. Out of 1,000 sexual assault cases analyzed, only 26 percent went to prosecutors; victims overall had less than a 1/10 chance of seeing a conviction; and in one in four cases, police never even assigned an investigator, which they do for every case of murder.” ICYMI, read the first installment here

Minnesota native and super-Trumper U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart had a tough first debate with incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine in Virginia. Morgan Gstalter at The Hill says, “Republican Senate nominee Corey Stewart (Va.) was interrupted by audience laughter during a debate on Saturday after saying President Trump ‘stands up’ to Russia. Stewart, the controversial chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, was participating in a debate against incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). He was attempting to attack Kaine’s responses to acts of Russian aggression during the Obama administration, such as when Russians shot down an aircraft over Ukraine, or invaded Crimea. ‘We have a president who is standing up to the Russians,’ Stewart said. He was met by loud laughter from both the audience and his opponent.” 

Going dockless. The Star Tribune’s Liz Sawyer writes: “Dozens of neon green bikes descended on Edina’s commercial district Saturday, marking the city’s first venture into dockless two-wheeled transportation. The LimeBike pilot program offers $1 rides — paid for through a smartphone app — and allows cyclists to park anywhere.… The first shipment of bikes arrived in Edina on Saturday. The bikes were scattered around the 50th & France and Southdale areas.”

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Probably not for personal use.  Says Stribber Paul Walsh, “A 24-year-old Lakeville man has pleaded guilty to transporting thousands of candy-like gummies laced with THC into Minnesota. Austin J. Hagen entered his plea  Friday in Dakota County District Court to felony second-degree drug possession. A Lakeville police officer stopped him on Feb. 2 and caught a whiff of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The officer’s search turned up eight plastic bins containing, in total, more than 99 pounds of gummies laced with concentrated THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.” 

Soon there’ll be kids who have never seen a CD. Kavita Kumar of the Strib reports, “The beleaguered compact disc, made increasingly obsolete in the age of streaming, now has found itself in the bargain bin. Richfield-based Best Buy, once one of the bigger music retailers with several aisles of CDs, now has a time capsule to another era jumbled up inside the $5.99 bargain bin. Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Who, Cat Stevens, Billy Ocean, Lionel Richie — all a nod to the aging demographics of those who still buy them.”

All right then: a “call to action.” At MPR, Nina Moini says, “The St. Paul City Council passed a resolution last week proposing a set of steps to help solve housing problems in the growing city. Council members unanimously passed what they described as a call for action ‘to create and preserve housing that is affordable at all income levels, address racial, social and economic disparities in housing, and create infrastructure needed to stabilize housing for all in Saint Paul.’ The resolution includes a proposed down payment assistance program to help first-time home buyers, and an affordable housing trust fund to create new housing units, among other goals.” 

In the latest llama news, WCCO-TV reports: “At one Waconia farm, there is no such thing as llama drama. … That out-going personality is the reason Rick Carlson fell in love with llamas back when they were a relative unknown in this part of the world. ‘Sheep were all over. Horses were all over. Pigs were all over. So I wanted something different,’ said Carlson, owner of Carlson’s Llovable Llamas. … He started with 10 llamas. Now he’s up to 87. And like it often goes in a small town, word got around. Now people call for all kinds of different reasons. ‘My answering machine is full. My email is full. I can’t keep up with the requests we have,’ Carlson said. ‘People want to buy a llama for guarding. People want to buy a llama for a pet.’”