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Video shows Ramsey County jailer punching restrained inmate

Plus: Clay County GOP shares Facebook post comparing Bernie Sanders to Hitler; Minneapolis begins winter parking rules; Legislature braces for first hearing on gun control; and more.

In the Pioneer Press, Mara Gottfried writes, “What happened in the Ramsey County jail to a restrained inmate amounts to torture, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said Tuesday. Other elected officials and community leaders decried a 2016 video made public Monday, which shows a correctional officer punching and using other force on the inmate while employees stood by. Ramsey County Board chairman Jim McDonough called ‘the racial dynamics’ alarming of ‘a white officer acting upon a black male with a group of predominantly white officers present.’”

Says Dave Orrick for the Pioneer Press, “GOP leaders went into damage control Tuesday after a western Minnesota county Republican party shared a Facebook post that compares U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders to Adolf Hitler. Sanders is Jewish, which makes the original post ill-informed, if not offensive. The post by the Clay County Republican Party was removed but not before local Jewish groups took screenshots and shared it on Twitter.”

In the Star Tribune, Miguel Otarola reports, “Starting Wednesday at 8 a.m., cars parked on the even-numbered side of Minneapolis residential streets are at risk of being ticketed and towed, as the city kicks in its first winter parking restrictions since 2014. The parking restrictions, which will last until April 1, are an emergency measure for streets that have become nearly impassable for emergency vehicles, buses and other large vehicles.”

Meanwhile, Tim Nelson at MPR says, “Asked about the hundreds of vehicles that remain illegally parked and plowed in on the city’s streets already, officials said a pause in formal snow emergencies will let them go after the scofflaws more vigorously. …Public safety officials, though, say they feel that it really is a matter of life and death. The normal 32-foot street widths have been reduced by snow to scarcely more than a single driving lane in many places. Assistant fire chief Bryan Tyner said blocking a 9-foot-wide firetruck from a blaze or an ambulance from someone with a sudden illness could have serious consequences.”

Also, Paul Huttner at MPR says, “Record February snowfall across the Upper Midwest is changing the flood equation this spring. Hydrologists and climate experts are busy crunching new numbers that incorporate the water content in all that snow on the ground. … Monday I spoke with Minnesota DNR Senior Climatologist Kenny Blumenfeld. He tells me that flood forecasters are growing more concerned about significant flood potential as they begin to update spring flood outlooks. And as the snow keeps falling, that outlook grows more important each week going forward. Kenny tells me the snowpack across the Upper Midwest is at the 99th-percentile rank across a big area. That means snow cover right now is near historic depth and coverage around the region.”

The Star Tribune’s Stephen Montemayor says, “Private prisons would be banned from doing business in Minnesota as part of a renewed push at the Capitol to stop the for-profit prison industry from gaining a foothold in the state. Minnesota’s only private prison, Prairie Correctional Facility, a 1,600-bed prison in Appleton, opened in the 1990s but has been dormant since losing contracts in 2010. Its owner, CoreCivic, has proposed turning it into a holding facility for immigration detainees and backed earlier proposals for the state to lease or sell the facility.”

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From the AP: “The Minnesota Legislature is bracing for its first hearing this session on the contentious issue of gun control. The House public safety committee hearing is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Capitol. It will hear testimony on bills to require universal criminal background checks for gun purchasers, and to let families and police petition courts to temporarily remove guns from people judged to pose an imminent threat to themselves or others.”

At MPR, Bob Collins says, “I’m looking at the same thing out my back deck that a lot of you are: A foot and a half of fresh hell snow covering my plans for gardens and landscaping that will go unrealized for a 28th consecutive year. Not that the seed catalogs aren’t being used for their intended purpose at the moment: helping me survive another Minnesota winter. … people have asked me if I’m staying in Minnesota when I retire. Of course, I am, the alternative being residency in a state of crooks, crackpots, and perverts. If normalcy should ever grip a southern state, maybe I’ll leave. But I’m not making plans. Winter is our meteorological purification. If we didn’t have it, we might be more like them.”