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‘Irresponsible’: Minneapolis mayor, police chief oppose proposed cuts to police budget

Plus: Walz likely to call on Minnesotans not to travel or gather for Christmas; state preparing to use COVID-19 morgue for first time; St. Paul Saints to become Twins’ AAA team; and more.

Mayor Jacob Frey, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo
MinnPost photo by Tiffany Bui
Mayor Jacob Frey, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo
At MPR, Brandt Williams reports, “Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and police chief Medaria Arradondo said Monday they oppose a budget proposal that would shift nearly $8 million from the police department’s 2021 budget. Late last week, three council members announced they would put forward a plan to funnel those dollars into non-law enforcement based public safety programs and services. Supporters of the plan say given the depleted ranks of the department, that would keep officers free to respond to violent crime calls. At a news conference, Frey called the proposal, which would decrease the authorized size of the force from 888 to 750, ‘irresponsible.’”

Also from MPR: “As public health authorities brace for a jump in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in coming weeks originating from Thanksgiving celebrations, Gov. Tim Walz says he’ll likely call on Minnesotans not to travel or gather for Christmas. ‘I think the guidance around Thanksgiving is going to be very similar around Christmas’, he told reporters Monday, adding there was ‘little reason’ to expect a change in the trajectory of the virus in the next four weeks.”

In the Pioneer Press, Mara H. Gottfried writes: “St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell is considering terminating the officer who shot and wounded a man this weekend, a law enforcement source said Monday. Axtell is planning to release body-camera footage from the incident on Tuesday or Wednesday. Police said in a statement several hours after the Saturday night shooting that the man, who was hiding in a dumpster in the North End neighborhood, climbed out and ran toward officers. Officials have not detailed why the officer shot him or indicated whether the man was armed at the time.”

The Star Tribune’s Rochelle Olson reports, “Minneapolis officials want the state of Minnesota to pull from cash reserves to cover payments coming due next year on the city’s share of the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium. Rep. Mohamud Noor, DFL-Minneapolis, said he will seek relief from the city’s first scheduled debt payment of $17 million — and then push for a longer-term discussion about restructuring the stadium’s debt to give relief to Minneapolis. ‘It’s a difficult conversation,’ Noor said.”

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Says Hannah Flood for KMSP-TV, “Minnesota is preparing to use its COVID-19 morgue to store bodies for the first time of the pandemic as the virus surges statewide. The state has yet to use the St. Paul building in that capacity, but a record-breaking number of deaths this holiday weekend has officials bracing for the worst. The Department of Public Safety confirms they were there today testing the cold storage and installing things like shelving to possibly start storing remains.”

The Associated Press writes: “A Duluth police officer was charged Monday with two felonies in connection with a September shooting that left a man with a bullet lodged in his shoulder. Prosecutors in St. Louis County charged Officer Tyler Leibfried with one count of intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety and one count of reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality. Each count carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison if convicted.”

A trio of Washington Post reporters say, “Wisconsin and Arizona on Monday became the last two of six states where President Trump has contested his defeat to finalize their vote counts, dealing a fresh blow to his quest to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as a chorus of Republicans and Democrats offered support for the election’s integrity. … the Democratic chairwoman of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Ann Jacobs, completed her state’s canvass and declared Biden the winner of the state’s 10 electoral votes, a declaration that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers promptly certified. Their actions brought Biden one step closer to an official victory on Dec. 14, when the electoral college meets.”

The Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neil III writes: “The reorganization of Minor League Baseball is expected to be announced as soon as Tuesday, with the Twins reaching deals to have their top affiliates in St. Paul and Wichita, Kan. The St. Paul Saints will leave independent baseball to become the Class AAA team for the Twins. What’s unclear is if the Saints are paying the entire cost of entering affiliated ball — reports over the summer indicated a cost of as much as $20 million — or if the Twins will contribute.”

For The Forum papers Mike McFeely writes, “South Dakota’s anti-drug campaign from a year ago only seemed like it came from The Onion, a wickedly satirical website that pokes fun at just about everything. But ‘Meth. We’re On It’ was all too real. And all too embarrassing for The Mount Rushmore State. That doesn’t mean The Onion hasn’t kept its eye on South Dakota. A brief ‘story’ on the website last week said South Dakota unveiled a new tourism slogan in the wake of the state having the worst COVID infection rates in the world: ‘Come Die Here.’”

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