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Hundreds weigh in on police ballot question at Minneapolis Charter Commission

Plus: Minneapolis park board votes to rein in encampments; St. Thomas granted approval to make jump to Division I athletics; Minnesota Zoo set to welcome back visitors; and more.

MinnPost photo by Jessica Lee
An image of the Minneapolis Charter Commission from January.
For MPR, Riham Feshir writes: “The Minneapolis Charter Commission listened as hundreds of residents weighed in, sometimes passionately, on the idea of dismantling the police department. … The commission is tasked with reviewing and then approving the language for a ballot question on whether to amend the city’s charter to remove the police department and replace it with a new public safety model. … An overwhelming number of callers want to add the question to the November ballot, but others say the proposal is vague, lacks input from the African American community and a clear vision.”

Says Miguel Otarola for the Star Tribune, “The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted Wednesday night to cut the number of encampments spread across the city’s parks, significantly reducing two sprawling encampments at Powderhorn Park. The unanimous vote was prefaced by more than an hour of public comment in which dozens of residents protested against the homeless encampments, which they said have become the site of constant drug use, violence and other illicit behavior.”

For The Daily Beast, Pilar Melendez writes, “The family of George Floyd is suing the city of Minneapolis and the four officers involved in the unarmed 46-year-old’s death, in which his final pleas of ‘I can’t breathe’ became a national rallying cry. The federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota alleges that the city and the Minneapolis cops involved in the May 25 death ‘deprived’ Floyd of ‘his clearly established rights as secured by the Fourth and Fourteen Amendments.’ It also alleges the Minneapolis Police Department has a history of providing and permitting ‘warrior-style’ training and that the city allowed a culture of excessive force and racism to flourish within law enforcement. … The lawsuit is the latest legal battle against the four officers involved in a death that galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement worldwide.”

The Star Tribune’s Randy Furst and Paul Walsh say, “While not specifying how much the family will seek in compensation, [attorney Ben] Crump said, ‘This is an unprecedented case, and with this lawsuit we seek to set a precedent that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalized people — especially Black people — in the future.’ Crump said that how the city leaders react to the demands put forth by the Floyd family lawyers will have consequences. ‘Their political legacy will be defined by how they respond,’ he said.”

An AP story says, “Mail deliveries could be delayed by a day or more under cost-cutting efforts being imposed by the new postmaster general. The plan eliminates overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and says employees must adopt a ‘different mindset’ to ensure the Postal Service’s survival during the coronavirus pandemic. Late trips will no longer be authorized. If postal distribution centers are running late, ‘they will keep the mail for the next day,’ Postal Service leaders say in a document obtained by The Associated Press. … The changes come a month after Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major donor to President Donald Trump, took over the sprawling mail service.

WCCO-TV reports: “The University of St. Thomas announced Wednesday the school’s move from Division III to Division I college athletics. St. Thomas is calling this a ‘historic decision’ in becoming the first program in NCAA history to reclassify from D-III to D-I. Also, becoming Minnesota’s first private D-I collegiate athletics program.”

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This from KARE-TV, “The Minnesota Zoo is set to welcome back visitors on Friday, July 24 with limited attendance and new safety guidelines. Minnesota Zoo members can visit as soon as this Sunday, with special preview days for members scheduled from July 19-22. Tickets will be sold online starting Thursday, July 16. Time slots will be available between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and all guest and member tickets will need to be reserved online in advance.”

Says Paul Huttner at MPR, “A few forecast models crank out dew points above 80 degrees Saturday afternoon across southern Minnesota. Most of that is due to a tropical air mass from the Gulf of Mexico. But evapotranspiration from the sea of corn will likely add a few degrees dew point (and heat index) values Saturday. NOAA’s NAM model cranks out potential heat index values over 110 degrees across southern Minnesota Saturday afternoon.”