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Air Force investigating use of surveillance planes in monitoring Minneapolis protests

Minneapolis Police spraying mace at protesters
REUTERS/Eric Miller
Minneapolis Police spraying mace at protesters to break up a gathering near the Minneapolis Police third precinct on May 27.

For the New York Times, Eric Schmitt and The Air Force inspector general is investigating whether the military improperly used a little-known reconnaissance plane to monitor protests in Washington and Minneapolis this month, the Air Force said on Thursday. The inquiry was apparently prompted by lawmakers who expressed concerns to Pentagon officials that the use of military surveillance airplanes may have violated the civil liberties of the mostly peaceful protesters demonstrating against the police killings of black Americans.”

KSTP-TV reports: “Overnight, the Minnesota House passed its Minnesota Police Accountability Act. The debate went until just after 1 a.m. Friday, and the bill moved forward mostly along party lines. House legislators ended up combining three separate bills to create the act. It aims to put more authority in the hands of communities that officers patrol and attempts to reform police reporting, response and debriefing. It also seeks to increase accountability by changing use of force restrictions and the investigation, prosecution and bail of officers. The amended bill now heads back to the Senate.”

For MPR, Brian Bakst reports: “Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar pulled out of consideration Thursday to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate. Klobuchar went on MSNBC to say it would be better if Biden picked a woman of color to be on his Democratic ticket. Klobuchar is among several people who were being vetted for the position. In dropping out, Klobuchar said it was time to focus on helping the nation heal from the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis.”

For WCCO-TV, Susan Elizabeth Littlefield reports, “The Minneapolis Park Board has voted in favor of making all city parks places of refuge for people experiencing homelessness. The vote comes after weeks of upheaval for the homeless community. A Midtown hotel was being used as a sanctuary, then was cleared out last week. Since then, hundreds have been living in Powderhorn Park in south Minneapolis. The city is known for its parks, and now they will serve as an escape for many, and will legally be a place of refuge for others.”

A story at KSTP-TV says, “Thursday, Minneapolis and local leaders called on state lawmakers to change the state’s law enforcement arbitration process. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo were joined at a press conference by Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse, Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott and Richfield City Council member Mary Supple calling for lawmakers to act. ”

For the Forum News Service, Peter Passi says: “Some job titles for city staff will soon be changing, as the city of Duluth seeks to remove the word ‘chief’ from its leadership lexicon. Mayor Emily Larson said the discussion about renaming jobs began internally at City Hall. … Larson said that much of the language in the city charter still skews toward the masculine, saying, ‘When a gender is identified, it’s always “him.”‘ Updating Duluth’s language in the city charter to be more gender-neutral and sensitive to other cultures makes sense.”

Says a story at BringMeTheNews, “Minnesota-based Xcel Energy announced a plan Wednesday to put $3 billion into the state to help promote economic relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the Department of Commerce had previously asked energy companies to play a role in the state’s recovery and job creation. Proposed projects would create around 5,000 jobs, according to Xcel. … The projects include adding solar panels to its soon-to-be-decommissioned Sherco coal plant in Becker, Minnesota, creating between 230 and 350 jobs.”

Stribbers Erin Golden and Glenn Howatt report, “State health officials on Thursday provided more direction to Minnesota schools as they sort out how — and if — they can safely welcome students back this fall. A formal decision on whether schools will open is likely still more than a month away; the Minnesota Department of Health intends to make that call by the last week of July. But the state did provide an outline for three separate scenarios, spelling out how schools may need to rearrange classrooms, minimize the numbers of students in cafeterias and on school buses, and react quickly if students or teachers become ill with COVID-19.”

Also in the Star Tribune, this from Chris Hewitt, “Drive-in theaters have been a part of the moviegoing landscape for 100 years, but current events have shifted them from a minor, seasonal player in the movie industry to the best game in town. After delays, the sprawling Vali-Hi in Lake Elmo finally opened last week, but other drive-ins have been popping corn since mid-May, with rules in place to protect staff and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as filling lots to only 50% capacity to make physical distancing possible.”

In the Pioneer Press, Nancy Ngo says, “A popular Twin Cities food hall is taking things outside as it reopens Friday following a three-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Keg and Case Market in St. Paul has moved dining to the outdoors on its patio and park areas. … In addition to Clutch Brewing and Spinning Wylde, other vendors reopening include Five Watt Coffee, Revival, Pimento, O’Cheeze, Bread & Boba, House of Halva, Pastamoré, Forest to Fork, Studio Emme, Hobby Farmer, Sweet Science Ice Cream and Soul Lao.”

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by John N. Finn on 06/19/2020 - 06:51 am.

    There are numerous job openings listed on Linkedin and elsewhere for Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officers.

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/19/2020 - 08:40 am.

    Klobuchar always has been good at reading the winds and running to the front. I imagine her next target will be a Cabinet position, possibly AG?

    • Submitted by West Los Angeles on 06/19/2020 - 10:57 am.

      Very cynical. I think she was elbowed out. Too bad. If Biden does not win, it sets Blacks back for decades. She was the logical candidate to help Biden where he needs help. Blacks should be voting for Biden in any event. This is an election to be won, not a debate to be won.
      Whoever pushed her should be ashamed.

  3. Submitted by Donna Berry on 06/19/2020 - 11:32 am.

    Her record as a prosecutor would have been a serious problem. l don’t think Biden can lose an honest election, but with voter suppression and other shenanigans, he just might.

  4. Submitted by Dan Lind on 06/19/2020 - 12:09 pm.

    A not surprising strategic positioning move by Amy. She was already off the list, so to voluntarily publicly resign provides her with an opportunity to look good and try to buff up her tarnished image a little bit.

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