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At civil rights trial, St. Paul cop testifies about ‘code of silence’ among officers

Plus: St. Paul City Council diversifies; U of M’s Raptor Center seeing more bald eagle injuries; donut guy gets free Mercedes van; and more.

St. Paul Police car
MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

At MPR, Brandt Williams writes, “A St. Paul police officer described an unwritten ‘code of silence’ during a federal trial on Wednesday.  Brian Ficcadenti testified during the trial of fellow officer Brett Palkowitsch, who is charged with violating the civil rights of Frank Baker.  In 2016, Palkowitsch kicked Baker as he was being bitten by a police dog. Federal prosecutors say Palkowitsch used excessive force. … Ficcadenti has been reluctant to criticize Palkowitsch until now. Ficcadenti said he feared that if he spoke out, other officers would retaliate against him for breaking an unwritten code of silence.”

From the Sahan Journal, Becky Z. Dernbach writes: “The faces of power at St. Paul City Hall have diversified quickly over the last two years. In 2017, Melvin Carter was elected the city’s first black mayor. Mitra Jalali Nelson, whose parents are immigrants from Iran and South Korea, won a City Council special election last year. Last week, Yang became the first Hmong woman to be elected to the City Council. She will replace Kassim Busuri, the council’s first Somali member, who was appointed to the council earlier this year to fill a temporary vacancy. When the new council is sworn in, three of its seven members will be from Asian immigrant families.”

In the Duluth News Tribune, Jimmy Lovrien says, “Attorneys general from three states, including Minnesota, have filed briefs supporting a lawsuit filed by the Michigan Attorney General to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. The amicus briefs, or friend-of-the-court briefs, filed by the attorneys general of Minnesota, Wisconsin and California back a lawsuit filed by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in June arguing Enbridge violated its 1953 easement through the strait, the public trust doctrine, and the Michigan Environmental Protection Act as ‘it is likely to cause pollution, impairment and destruction of water and other natural resources’.”

In the Star Tribune, Erin Adler reports, “Allegations that a Burnsville pastor had inappropriate sexual relationships with two 18-year-old women 17 years ago in Indiana have shaken the congregation at his south metro megachurch, resulting in a leave of absence for him and his removal from consideration for hire by a church in Tennessee. … The Rev. Wes Feltner, now 41, is being accused of simultaneously dating the congregants in 2002 when he was a youth pastor in southern Indiana. The accusations have been deemed credible by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, where Feltner taught and has been suspended, and came to light after he applied for a position this fall at a church in Clarksville, Tenn.”

Tim Nelson of MPR reports, “Majestic and beautiful bald eagles live around the Twin Cities metro area in greater numbers. And more of them are winding up in the hospital. ‘We are their health plan,’ said Julia Ponder, a veterinarian at the University of Minnesota and director of the Raptor Center on the U’s St. Paul campus. … It’s part of a long term trend, with the center treating as many as 183 eagles in 2017, a spike of nearly 50 percent from the annual patient count from just a few years before.”

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The Star Tribune’s Patrick Kennedy reports, “Minneapolis law firm Faegre Baker Daniels and Philadelphia law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath are discussing a possible merger that would create one of the 50 largest law firms in the country. The two firms issued a joint statement that the discussions are in progress but said they have nothing further to report at this time.”

Says KBJR-TV, “Minnesota will see two farewell concerts next year. Both KISS and Elton John will perform in St. Paul in 2020 as part of their final tours. Elton John will perform twice for his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Those concerts will be held Monday, June 15 and Tuesday, June 16. Meanwhile, KISS will perform at the Xcel Energy Center on Monday, February 24.”

Nick Woltman of the Pioneer Press says, “Jayson Gonzalez, the local college student who carts Krispy Kreme donuts up to Minnesota from Iowa, will be able to haul even more glazed goodies across state lines thanks to a gift from German automobile manufacturer Daimler. The company gave Gonzalez a Mercedes Sprinter Freightliner van Tuesday during an on-stage interview at a conference hosted by trucking industry publication Freight Waves.”