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Minneapolis releases transcripts of 911 call in Blevins case

Plus: Former KSTP-TV worker arrested after threatening station; Minnesota suing OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma; Florida prosecutors seeking the death penalty for a Minnesota woman accused of killing husband; and more.

Thurman Blevins
Thurman Blevins

The Star Tribune’s Libor Jany writes: “Minutes before police encountered Thurman Blevins on a north Minneapolis street corner last month, a woman called 911 to report a wiry man in a tank top walking through her neighborhood, firing a gun. … As the dispatcher tried to engage her, the woman described the man as about 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds, according to a transcript of the call, released Monday on the city’s website. … Blevins, who is black, was killed June 23 in the Camden neighborhood, after leading officers on a brief foot chase that ended in an alley off N. 48th Avenue, between Aldrich and Bryant avenues. A gun was recovered at the scene, authorities said.”

A quick way to get arrestedThe Pioneer Press’ Mara H. Gottfried reports: “A former KSTP-TV worker told the station’s security director he wanted his job back and said, ‘You know what happened yesterday in Maryland,’ the day after a gunman killed five people at a newspaper in that state, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday. The Ramsey County attorney’s office charged Rusty Gene Arntson, 36, with threats of violence, a felony. Arntson was fired from Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns KSTP-TV, last year ‘after he had a confrontation with a female coworker who he blamed for causing him to have a previous suspension,’ the complaint said.”

Also in the Strib, Jeremy Olson reports, “Minnesota is suing Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the narcotic painkiller OxyContin, following a prolonged investigation into its marketing and other tactics that allegedly contributed to a rising number of patient addictions and overdose deaths. The lawsuit, filed Monday by state Attorney General Lori Swanson in Hennepin County District Court, seeks to recoup money lost by Minnesota taxpayers in paying for opioid painkillers for unproven and harmful purposes. Modeled after successful efforts to sue tobacco companies for the harm cigarettes caused, Swanson said she hopes to gain money from Purdue to fund treatment of addicts.”

How long before this is approved? MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar says, “Minnesota Power’s plan to team up with the Dairyland Power Cooperative to build a 525- to 550-megawatt natural gas plant in Superior, Wis., failed on Monday to get an administrative law judge’s blessing. Minnesota Power must go to Minnesota utility regulators to enter into such an agreement because its customers could end up paying for the plant through electricity rates. The first step in that process is presenting its case before an administrative law judge.”

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Says the AP: “Florida prosecutors say they’re seeking the death penalty for a Minnesota woman who’s accused of killing her husband and a Florida woman before leading authorities on a cross-country manhunt. The State Attorney’s Office in Lee County, Fla., filed a notice of intent Monday to seek the death penalty against 56-year-old Lois Riess. A grand jury indicted her last month on a first-degree murder charge. A conviction would mean life in prison or execution for the grandmother.”

Apparently, there was no backing down. WCCO-TV’s story on a fight on the U of M campus says, “Minneapolis police are continuing to investigate a deadly fight that began at a popular bar near the University of Minnesota campus. Police were called to the scene at University Avenue and Oak Street, across the street from TCF Bank Stadium just after 11 p.m. Sunday. Minneapolis police Monday night are stressing that the 20-year-old U of M student who called 911 and was briefly arrested was fully cooperative, and that nearby surveillance cameras support his account..”

Enough cops, they say. MPR’s Martin Moylan reports, “A proposal by St. Paul’s police chief to hire more police officers sparked a small protest Monday by residents opposed to the idea. About a dozen members of ISAIAH, a faith-based advocacy group, gathered outside St. Paul City Hall to call on Mayor Melvin Carter and the city council to hold police staffing steady. The group contends there’s no need to add 50 officers over two years to make the city safer. ‘It would cost the city an additional $4.5 million,’ said JaNae Bates, a United Church of Christ minister and the communications director at ISAIAH.”

Also at MPR, this from Brian Bakst. “A Democratic contender for Minnesota attorney general said Monday he won’t defend new abortion restrictions in court if state lawmakers approve them. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, one of five DFLers vying for the party nomination for the open seat, made the comment at a news conference in which he vowed to fight efforts to limit health care coverage, including reductions in Medicaid offerings and access to legal abortion. Also Monday, Ellison received the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota.

Wrong place. Wrong time. Says the AP: “A Minnesota man told investigators that a married couple ‘freaked him out’ before running them over in a minivan, just one day after being kicked out of an apartment by his family, according to a criminal complaint Monday charging him with second-degree murder. Prosecutors in Dakota County said 36-year-old Jonna Kojo Armartey fatally struck 58-year-old Diane Peterson and 74-year-old Roger Peterson of the Twin Cities suburb Eagan last Thursday as they were walking near a strip mall. … Authorities said Armartey and the Petersons did not know each other.”

Twenty-two stories. Nicole Norfleet of the Strib writes, “Sherman Associates intends to redevelop the parking lot that takes up most of the block near the Crooked Pint Ale House on Washington Avenue between 5th and Portland avenues. The firm wants to build a 22-story apartment tower that would have approximately 250 units and two levels of underground parking and a six-story building containing about 90 units for low-income housing wrapped around a 312-stall parking ramp, said Shane LaFave, director of multifamily development at Sherman. Also, there would be about 6,000 square feet of space on the corner of Washington and Portland avenues that could be used by a restaurant or other retailers.”