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Calm returns to downtown Minneapolis on second night of curfew

Plus: release of graphic suicide video sparks debate; Minnesota Department of Human Services prepares to lay off staff and slash spending; lawyer for one of former officers charged in the killing of George Floyd wants trial moved; and more.

In the Star Tribune, Pam Louwagie writes: “Workers and volunteers in downtown Minneapolis swept up glass, boarded up buildings and assessed the emotional toll of another night in a summer of civil unrest Thursday after rioters damaged more than 40 buildings overnight, this time sparked by a false rumor that police had killed a man. More than 1,000 uniformed personnel including 400 National Guard members and 250 State Patrol troopers stood ready to quell potential disturbances Thursday night as an 8 p.m. curfew fell upon both Minneapolis and St. Paul. … Well into the evening, Nicollet Mall remained peaceful with only a few people on the streets. A caravan of National Guard and law enforcement patrols traversed the corridor, warning over a loudspeaker that those who did not disperse would be arrested.”

For MPR, Riham Feshir writes: “The release of a graphic suicide video in downtown Minneapolis has outraged some critics who say it was too harmful to share.  But Minneapolis officials say it was necessary to quell false rumors of a fatal police shooting. Some local media outlets shared the footage as well — even though journalists generally are trained to use use extreme caution when reporting on suicide. Best practices suggest refraining from reporting on the details, let alone publishing video footage of it. But this? This was complicated.”

For FOX 9, Leah Neno reports, “Multiple businesses in downtown Minneapolis are assessing the damage after unrest broke out Wednesday night. An official count of impacted businesses is still being tabulated, but The Downtown Council expects it to be in the dozens. … Since March, [Devil’s Advocate owner Erik] Forsberg has indicated with signs on the windows that items of value had been removed from the building. Wednesday night, he and a co-worker barricaded the broken door and camped out overnight amid the unrest. ‘As my chef is holding pallets up and I’m drilling them into [the] door frame as quickly I can, people are trying to breach those and come in — a lot of people trying to come in,’ said Forsberg.”

This from Chris Serres of the Star Tribune, “Facing a major budget shortfall, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is preparing to lay off staff and slash millions of dollars in spending on state-run programs that serve vulnerable populations as well as sex offenders. The budget cuts, disclosed in a memo to state employees Wednesday, include shifting the operation of some group homes for people with disabilities to private operators and the termination of a satellite program for treating sex offenders at the state prison in Moose Lake. The agency also plans to leave dozens of positions unfilled at the state’s main psychiatric hospital in St. Peter and lay off 15 employees at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, which houses about 740 sex offenders at state-operated treatment centers.”

In the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: “The student who accused several Golden Gopher football players of sexually assaulting her in September 2016 has accepted a $500,000 settlement from the University of Minnesota. The U released the settlement agreement to the Pioneer Press in response to a routine public records request. The woman’s name is redacted in the document and little detail is provided. However, the Pioneer Press has confirmed the settlement is connected to the alleged gang rape, which resulted in the expulsion of four football players and the near-cancellation of the 2016 Holiday Bowl.”

KSTP-TV’s Kyle Brown reports: “The attorney representing one of the former Minneapolis police officers charged in connection with the killing of George Floyd has asked for the trial to be moved from Hennepin County. Thomas Plunkett, a lawyer representing J. Alexander Kueng, filed the change of venue motion in Hennepin County Court on Thursday. The motion argues that the prosecution has publicly shared ‘”potentially” prejudicial material’ and that a fair trial would be impossible in the seven-county metro area.”

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At The Daily Beast, Justin Baragona reports, “Former Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker appeared to tap out of a CNN interview early on Thursday when anchor Anderson Cooper pressed him on Republicans blaming Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for the civil unrest in Kenosha. Toward the end of a combative exchange, which featured Walker blasting Democrats for not denouncing violent protests over police brutality, Cooper began grilling the former governor on President Donald Trump’s silence on the Jacob Blake shooting. As the CNN anchor peppered Walker with tough questions about the incident at the heart of the Kenosha protests, Walker could be seen approaching his video camera.”

At MPR, Paul Huttner and Megan Burks say, “As climate change unfolds, we’re learning that warming is uneven. Temperature records show distinct hot spots, and northern Minnesota is among the fastest warming areas on the planet. Minnesota’s Iron Range and Canadian border counties have warmed more than 2 degrees Celsius — 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit — since 1895. That’s twice as fast as the Twin Cities and the global average of about 1 degree Celsius. What might seem like a small change to some is already having a noticeable difference on the state’s boreal forest, said Lee Frelich, director The University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology. ‘If you drive the highway from Virginia, [Minn.], to Ely in mid-September, you will see a lot more red there, because red maple has expanded quite dramatically there’, he said.”