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Violent crime continues decade-long decline in Minnesota

Plus: mayor wants investigation after seeing video of St. Paul police arresting 13-year-old girl; state made $3.7 million in payments for dead people; Hennepin County Sheriff’s office vehicle ends up in a Wisconsin ditch; and more.

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Photo by David von Diemar on Unsplash

Says the Star Tribune’s Andy Mannix, “Violent crime dropped once again in Minnesota last year, continuing a decade­-long trend that’s made the state and its metro area among the nation’s safest. In 2018, the collective rate of homicide, robbery, rape and aggravated assault declined by 8% statewide from 2017, according to Uniform Crime Reporting data released by the FBI this week. This marks a 33% decline from the mid-’90s crime peak and a 23% dip from an uptick in 2006.”

Meanwhile, also in the Star Tribune, Miguel Otárola writes: “Business leaders Wednesday reiterated the call for more police officers to patrol downtown Minneapolis after a summer of high-profile robberies and assaults, and just days after a fatal shooting in the city’s theater district.”

Briana Bierschbach of MPR reports, “A multistate audit from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found Minnesota made $3.7 million in payments over a two year period for deceased enrollees in state health care programs. The federal audit, sent to Minnesota’s Department of Human Service this week, said the payments occurred because a new computer system set up to comply with federal eligibility requirements didn’t have the most up-to-date information about people enrolled in state programs, including those who had died.”

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WCCO-TV reports: “St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter wants the police chief to launch an internal investigation after video surfaced of officers arresting a 13-year-old girl. Witnesses say it happened last week at the UPS Store on University Avenue. The video shows two officers holding the teenager down on the ground. The officers ask her to roll over, but she refuses. A third officer then steps in to help get her into handcuffs and out of the store.”

KSTP-TV’s Beth McDonough reports: “The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is trying to figure out how one its vehicles ended up empty in a ditch nearly 2 hours away. A Burnett County deputy found it outside of Spooner over the weekend. The SUV was discovered off to the side of County Road G in Rusk Township. On Saturday night, a deputy from Burnett County, Wisconsin happened upon the abandoned vehicle. After checking the plates, the deputy realized it wasn’t just any vehicle, it was registered to Hennepin County and assigned to a law enforcement officer.”

In the Star Tribune, Jeremy Olson writes, “New research from Mayo Clinic suggests that the nation’s outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries is due to people inhaling toxic substances — akin to workers who breathe fumes from chemical spills, or World War I soldiers exposed to mustard gas.

An AP story says, “Prosecutors have charged a St. Paul man in a carjacking that critically injured two teenagers as he sped down a Minneapolis street. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office Wednesday charged 48-year-old Steven Ross with two counts of criminal vehicular operation for hitting the teens as they walked in a crosswalk Monday. Ross also is charged with simple robbery, a felony. … The 19-year-old woman was flung into a bakery window frame. The 14-year-old boy with her went through the bakery window.

The Duluth News-Tribune’s Tom Olson writes: “The city of Duluth has asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to take on the case of a police officer who was reinstated to his position after officials fired him for dragging a handcuffed man through the downtown skywalk system. The city on Wednesday filed a petition for review in the case of Adam Huot, whose termination was overturned by an arbitrator in June 2018. A district judge and the Minnesota Court of Appeals both declined to reverse the arbitrator’s findings.”

In the Strib, Howard Sinker says, “After initially declining to do so, Comcast will offer a free MLB Network preview in the Twin Cities that will allow all of its subscribers to watch Friday’s Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series between the Twins and Yankees. If Comcast had held to its original plan, Comcast subscribers who didn’t subscribe to one of its top tiers of service could have watched the game by signing up for a free trial of a web stream service such as YouTube TV.”