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Police use tear gas to quell protests over George Floyd killing

Plus: Biden to be keynote speaker at DFL state convention; Vadnais Heights City Council member abruptly resigns over inflammatory social media posts; Wilder Foundation eliminates 52 jobs and nine programs; and more.

Thousands of protesters gathered on Tuesday night at the scene where George Floyd died.
Thousands of protesters gathered on Tuesday night at the scene where George Floyd died.
REUTERS/Eric Miller

The Star Tribune’s Ryan Faircloth reports, “Thousands of people marched through the streets of south Minneapolis Tuesday night in response to the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody after an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes and ignored the man’s protests that he couldn’t breathe. Protesters marched from the site of Floyd’s death — outside Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue — to the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct, where the door was smashed and protest signs left outside. Shortly before 8 p.m., police clad in riot gear were firing tear gas and sandbags at the protesters, who were throwing water bottles at them in what appeared to be a standoff.”

A story at WCCO-TV says, “CBS News acquired video of Floyd’s initial arrest, which seems to contradict the claim that he resisted arrest, at least in the early stages of their encounter. MORE: Video obtained by CBS News shows what appears to be the start of the confrontation between George Floyd & Minneapolis police officers. A restaurant’s security footage shows cops taking him into custody, but the restaurant owner says it does not show Floyd resisting arrest.”

In the New York Times, Audra D. S. Burch and  write: “The explosive footage of Mr. Floyd, 46, taken by a bystander and shared widely on social media early Tuesday, incited community outrage, an F.B.I. civil rights investigation and the firing of the police officer and three colleagues who were also at the scene. … The video clip laid bare, once again, a phenomenon of the cellphone era: official police versions of events that diverge greatly from what later appears on videotape. This year alone, video recordings have altered the official narratives of numerous encounters, raising the question of what might have occurred had no cameras been around.”

The Star Tribune editorial board says, “All of the facts must be examined in a credible and transparent process. Yet based on the shocking Facebook video that the public has seen thus far, it’s difficult to imagine why it would be necessary for one officer to press his knee into the neck of the handcuffed man, who can be heard telling officers he’s in distress before he appears to become unresponsive.”

From the Associated Press: “Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will be the keynote speaker when Minnesota Democrats hold a virtual state convention under the theme ‘Minnesota Together’ this weekend. The former vice president will address the delegates online Sunday, along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who’s considered a potential running mate. Their speeches can viewed live on the state party’s Facebook and YouTube channels.”

In the Star Tribune, Shannon Prather writes: “A Vadnais Heights City Council member abruptly resigned Tuesday after an anonymous person publicly confronted him about nearly 40 inflammatory social media posts that disparaged Muslims, transgender and gay people. Craig Johnson resigned after the person e-mailed more than 40 journalists, city leaders and advocacy groups screenshots of his Facebook posts dating back to January 2019. Johnson was copied on the message. Within hours, he submitted his resignation to Mayor Heidi Gunderson and the other council members.”

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Rochester’s KAAL-TV reports: “On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported a total of 206 positive cases of COVID-19 in Mower County. It’s a spike of nearly 100 cases from the 112 reported on Friday. ‘We did some data analysis on our numbers and about 50 percent, or about 100 of them are people that are living together in the same household, or are in the same apartment complex. So we’re seeing a lot of either family members or roommates that are coming down with this,” said Division Manager for Mower County Health and Human Services Pam Kellogg. Mower County Public Health says they’re not expecting the numbers to slow down anytime soon.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Kelly Smith reports: “The Wilder Foundation is eliminating 52 jobs and nine programs, including long-standing leadership, training, diversity and equity initiatives and adult day care in the east metro. The multimillion-dollar cuts, announced Tuesday, will ‘sharpen our focus’ and cut costs so the St. Paul nonprofit can narrow its deficit and rely less on its endowment to cover the budget gaps, interim CEO Brad Hewitt said. … The programs being eliminated served about 500 people and employed about 10% of Wilder’s staff, most of whom will lose their jobs by June 30.”

Also from the AP: “Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s surprisingly low considering the effort going into the global race for a vaccine against the coronavirus that has sparked a pandemic since first emerging from China late last year.”

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