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Federal grand jury investigating civil rights charges in George Floyd case

Plus: St. Paul man indicted in $840k fraud; Minneapolis bars businesses from installing security shutters; Minneapolis protest art; and more.

A mural honoring George Floyd
A mural honoring George Floyd on display outside of Cup Foods in Minneapolis near where he died.
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein

Moving swiftly. The Star Tribune’s Stephen Montemayor reports: “Spurred by intense public scrutiny and political pressure, federal authorities are moving faster in their investigation of possible criminal civil rights crimes in the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody than what has been customary in recent decades. … Less than three months after the Justice Department opened its own investigation into the four officers involved in Floyd’s killing, a charging decision is likely to be handed up soon by a federal grand jury in Minnesota, according to sources with knowledge of the case. … Should charges result, the timing of any federal indictment would be highly unusual in that such cases — which are exceedingly rare — are not typically filed until a state case concludes.

Big scam. KSTP’s John Skluzacek reports: “A St. Paul man has been federally indicted on charges of fraudulently obtaining over $840,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for small businesses affected by COVID-19. … According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 32-year-old Kyle William Brenizer is charged with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. … The indictment alleges Brenizer owned and managed True-Cut Construction, located in Brooklyn Park. In August 2018, Brenizer and True-Cut were ordered by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to cease and desist from doing business and in December 2019, the company’s contractor license expired and wasn’t renewed.”

Breakable-windows policy. The Star Tribune’s Jeffrey Meitrodt reports: “After looters crashed through his floor-to-ceiling windows and stole $1 million worth of booze in May, Chicago-Lake Liquors owner John Wolf wanted to protect himself from a repeat occurrence. … Like property owners throughout the world, he wanted to install security shutters on the outside of his building. The investment would not only prevent rioters from entering his store, it would protect his windows — which cost $50,000 to replace. … But Wolf ran into a big obstacle: The City of Minneapolis has barred security shutters on building exteriors since 2004.

Poet Danez Smith has a reflection on Minneapolis street art after the killing of George Floyd. It starts with a take on Uptown: “I’m a little tickled by the mural on the boarded-up windows of Kitchen Window, a gourmet cooking store in Uptown, Minneapolis. I’m stuck giggling at the three MLK quotes talking back to me about peace and hope and silence. Uptown is maybe the first place I ever understood to be ‘nice’ growing up in the cities. Uptown’s forever mood is semi-bougie, cool, and young; artists’ vibes at corporate prices; very call-the-cops-on-you-while-‘Fuck tha Police’-drips-heavy-from-the-rooftop-bar. I do sorta like Uptown. For the lake, the food, the better bars, the bookstore, but it always kinda feels like you’re visiting, you know? Like your welcome is brief and expensive and was never really a welcome. Very Midwestern. Sometimesy. Kitchen Window, I don’t know them people, but there’s something about standing under 15-foot MLK quotes in the windows of the place normally in the business of selling gear to folks who fancy their food fancy that hits weird. I don’t know them people, but in Uptown, in Minneapolis, it feels like when white folks quote King at you to tell you to calm down, misremembering the man they shot.”

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Whoops:Lab Confirms That COVID-19 Tests Affecting Minnesota Vikings Players Were False Positives” [WCCO]

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