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Frey says Walz hesitated in calling out National Guard during riots

Plus: large fire burns in downtown St. Paul;  judge approves changes easing Minnesota absentee ballot rules; Cup Foods reopens; and more.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey
MinnPost file photo by Tiffany Bui
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey
In the Star Tribune, Jennifer Bjorhus and Liz Navratil write: “Jacob Frey has been cast as the mayor who lost control of his city, enduring criticism from the state’s governor that the Minneapolis response to rioting in May over the police killing of George Floyd was an ‘abject failure.’ Now Frey is speaking out, saying Gov. Tim Walz failed to take his requests for help seriously until it was too late.Texts and e-mails obtained from Minneapolis by the Star Tribune through public records requests show the city was trying to give Walz and the state Department of Public Safety what they said they needed to move forward.”

WCCO-TV reports: “A large fire is burning Tuesday morning in the heart of Minnesota’s capital city. The fire appears to have engulfed a building that was under construction near the intersection of West 7th Street and Kellogg Boulevard, not far from the Xcel Energy Center. According to The Star Tribune, the building is the “Gateway,” a $69 million apartment/hotel project. It’s being built by Doran Companies. The fire started burning around 4 a.m. Images and videos posted to social media showed a massive plume of smoke rising into the night over Interstate 94.”

Says Torey Van Oot in the Star Tribune, “A Minnesota judge Monday approved changes easing Minnesota absentee ballot rules during the coronavirus pandemic for the November general election. An agreement approved by Ramsey County District Judge Sara Grewing allows voters to submit their mail-in or absentee ballots in the Nov. 3 general election without witness signatures. Election officials also will count ballots that arrive within seven days of the election, as long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3. … Monday’s development follows a June decision approving similar election rules for the Aug. 11 primary.”

For MPR, Jon Collins reports, “Authorities in Hennepin County are investigating how officer body camera video of George Floyd’s final moments was leaked to a British tabloid after the newspaper published the footage on its website Monday. The footage is evidence in the cases of four officers charged in George Floyd’s death on May 25. It’s been made available for scheduled, in-person viewings at the courthouse, but until now, it has not been widely released because of restrictions set by the judge presiding over the case.  The Daily Mail said the footage was ‘leaked,’ and it appears it could have been a bootleg recorded by someone who was playing the video from a laptop computer.”

For KARE-TV, Emily Haavik says, “A new poll of likely Minneapolis voters found that a majority of the people surveyed would vote to replace the city’s police department. The poll, commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and The Fairness Project, was conducted by Benenson Strategy Group. Potential Minneapolis voters were asked if they supported the initiative by the city council to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention. When given a description of the amendment, 56% of voters polled said they would vote yes to the change. Thirty percent said no, and 14 percent were unsure.”

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The AP reports: “Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is again asking for federal help to rebuild from the unrest that followed George Floyd’s death. Walz said Monday he has requested a U.S. Small Business Administration disaster declaration that would free up low-interest loans to help property owners rebuild. ‘… Last month Walz had asked President Donald Trump to declare a ‘major disaster’ in a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency because of extensive damage to public infrastructure following the death of Floyd. The federal government denied that request. The Democratic governor is appealing that decision.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Miguel Otárola writes: “Cup Foods, the south Minneapolis convenience store whose 911 call led to the fatal encounter between George Floyd and Minneapolis police, reopened Monday, instantly challenging those who want the corner to remain a memorial to victims of police violence. Dozens of protesters gathered in front of the store at the intersection of 38th and Chicago on Monday afternoon demanding it remain closed. The standoff was tense, with what sounded like gunfire nearby as opponents confronted people who showed up in defense of the store.”

For USA Today, Mike Snider reports, “Red onions potentially contaminated with salmonella were shipped to supermarkets and restaurants in all 50 states and Canada, health officials say. Thomson International of Bakersfield, California, on Saturday recalled all red, white, yellow and sweet yellow onions shipped from May 1 through the present out of concern they might be affected, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Onions were sold in cartons, weighing five pounds to 50 pounds, and mesh sacks (ranging from 2 pounds to 50 pounds) under brand names including Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Kroger, Food Lion, Hartley’s Best, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Imperial Fresh, Onions 52, Majestic and Utah Onions.”

KSTP-TV’s Tommy Wiita reports: “On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) announced its plan to close the state’s correctional facilities in Togo and Willow River to address a substantial budget crisis. According to the DOC, the closure of the state’s two smallest prisons comes after the legislature adjourned from the recent special session without action on the agency’s supplemental budget request. The department faces a budget deficit of about $14 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. While these two sites operate the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP), the program will continue to operate in full at other existing facilities.”

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