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Thousands gather for peaceful protests around Twin Cities

Plus: Minnesota labor organizations call for Minneapolis police union head to step down; Metro Transit to resume bus and rail services; Twitter falls in love with WCCO’s Mike Max; and more.

Roxie Washington, the mother of Geroge Floyd's 6-year-old daughter Gianna Floyd, addressing the press at Minneapolis City Hall on Tuesday.
Roxie Washington, the mother of Geroge Floyd's 6-year-old daughter Gianna Floyd, addressing the press at Minneapolis City Hall on Tuesday.
REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi

The Pioneer Press’ Nick Ferraro writes: “Faith leaders from several congregations marched in silence Tuesday in St. Paul as a way to reflect the ‘beloved community’ and the social justice action of the civil rights era in the United States. …. Led by local black clergy, marchers in St. Paul met at Gordon Parks High School at Griggs Street and walked in the middle of a temporarily closed University Avenue.. … St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell and St. Paul Fire Chief Butch Inks walked alongside clergy members during the march, which was one of several peaceful protests held throughout the Twin Cities on Tuesday. At the state Capitol, a crowd estimated at up to 3,000 people gathered on the front lawn and steps for a sit-in organized by a dozen high school students from around the metro area.

In the Star Tribune, Shannon Prather, Kim Hyatt and Matt McKinney write: “The mother of George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter tearfully spoke out at Minneapolis City Hall Tuesday, saying he was a loving and devoted father who continued to provide for their family before his death at the hands of police. Flanked by lawyers and retired NBA player Stephen Jackson, who was Floyd’s childhood friend, Roxie Washington struggled through emotion to share that Floyd’s life was made up more than his final moments beneath a Minneapolis police officer’s knee ….”

WCCO-TV reports: “Several Minnesota labor organizations are calling for Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation, to step down in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. Education Minnesota says Kroll is ‘unfit to lead in the modern labor movement.’ The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, AFSCME and the AFL-CIO also called for him to resign. Kroll has said he’s fighting to help the officers involved in Floyd’s death get their jobs back because they were fired without due process.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Jessie Van Berkel and Liz Navratil have more on the Minnesota Department of Human Rights’ investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department: “The probe, announced Tuesday by Gov. Tim Walz, will look at Minneapolis police policies and procedures over the past 10 years to determine whether the department has engaged in discriminatory practices toward people of color. … Lucero said this will differ from past examinations of the police department. First, the state Human Rights Department will work with city leaders to try to make some quick changes, she said. There will also be a longer process to potentially reach a consent decree, which can be enforced by the courts, Lucero said.”

The Pioneer Press’ Katrina Pross reports: “Metro Transit will resume bus and Northstar rail services Wednesday and light-rail service as early as Thursday. A statement — by Metro Transit general manager Wes Kooistra — said that bus and Northstar commuter rail services will return at 4 a.m. Wednesday. Metro Blue and Green Line light-rail service will resume on Thursday at the earliest.”

Says the Star Tribune’s Ryan Faircloth, “The Minneapolis school board voted unanimously Tuesday to terminate its contract with the Minneapolis Police Department, in response to the death of George Floyd under a police officer’s knee. Minneapolis Public Schools will cease further negotiations with the police department, and Superintendent Ed Graff must come up with a new plan for school safety by the board’s Aug. 18 meeting.”

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This from WCCO-TV.The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) says conditions are improving for three Minneapolis lakes after blue-green algae blooms were detected in May. On Tuesday, the MPRB announced it will be removing blue-green algae warning signs around Cedar Lake, Lake Nokomis and Lake of the Isles. According to the MPRB, water clarity has improved on Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles last week. At all three lakes, water quality staff with the MPRB observed the brown color indicative of the algae blooms has faded.”

Says John Reinan for the Star Tribune, “A rural Minnesota tavern owner who threatened to defy an executive order from the governor must follow restrictions limiting on-premise dining and drinking, a Stearns County judge ruled Tuesday. But Kris Schiffler isn’t ready to give up the battle. ‘You’re darn right we’ll keep fighting,’ said Schiffler, owner of six Minnesota restaurants, including Shady’s Tavern in Albany, Minn., about 85 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. ‘This is just the beginning.’”

The Pioneer Press’ Ross Raihala writes: “When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all sports and other live entertainment events, it left media outlets with the question of what to do with reporters who cover such events. As the protests over the death of George Floyd intensified over the weekend, WCCO-TV decided to send its veteran sports director Mike Max to the frontlines. Twitter users took note, initially with skepticism. But Max — who grew up in Gaylord and has worked for WCCO radio and TV since 1998 — soon won Twitter over with his solid reporting, thoughtful questions and his ability to dodge rubber bullets and endure tear gas.

From the Associated Press: “Republicans in northwest Iowa ousted Rep. Steve King in Tuesday’s primary, deciding they’ve had enough of the conservative lightning rod known for making incendiary comments about immigrants and white supremacy throughout his nearly two decades in Congress. The nine-term congressman, shunned by his party leadership in Washington and many of his longtime supporters at home, lost to well-funded state Sen. Randy Feenstra in a five-way GOP primary.