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Myon Burrell freed from Minnesota prison after pardons board commutes life sentence

Plus: Walz to extend restrictions on in-person dining; sting operation leads to 41 carjacking arrests in Minneapolis; fence around Minnesota Capitol to stay in place indefinitely; and more.

Myon Burrell is joined by friends and family as he walks free after having his life sentence commuted by the Minnesota Board of Pardons.
Myon Burrell is joined by friends and family as he walks free after having his life sentence commuted by the Minnesota Board of Pardons.
REUTERS/Stephen Maturen

The AP reports, “Minnesota’s pardon board on Tuesday freed a Black man who was sent to prison for life as a teen in a high-profile murder case that raised questions about the integrity of the criminal justice system that put him away. Myon Burrell’s case made headlines earlier this year after The Associated Press and American Public Media uncovered new evidence and serious flaws in the police investigation into the 2002 killing of an 11-year-old girl who was hit by a stray bullet while doing homework at her dining room table. Last week, an independent panel of national legal experts recommended his immediate release after reviewing the facts and all of the available evidence.”

The Pioneer Press’ Dave Orrick writes: “Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday will announce a coronavirus plan to allow elementary schools to open in exchange for keeping bars and restaurants closed to in-person service. On Tuesday night, Walz spokesman Teddy Tschann released the following statement: “Governor Walz will lay out a strategy tomorrow that prioritizes in-person learning for elementary students and continues to protect health care capacity by keeping indoor dining at bars and restaurants on pause through the holiday season. This plan will help bridge the gap to vaccination. The Governor will make his announcement and provide full details for other businesses and social settings (Wednesday) at 1:15 p.m.”

Says Paul Blume for KMSP-TV: A 3-day, joint operation between the Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office yielded more than 40 carjacking arrests, the departments announced Tuesday. The announcement was made at City Hall Tuesday after a joint-force carjacking suppression operation in Minneapolis last week. The MPD says 391 carjackings have been reported in the city this year, a 320 percent increase from 2019. In total, 41 felony arrests were made as well as 9 misdemeanor arrests and the confiscation of a pipe bomb.”

MPR’s Brian Bakst says, “Routine public access to the Minnesota Capitol and legislative proceedings will remain under restrictions into next year as officials weigh when to dismantle a fence and to conduct more business in person. Both realities were disclosed Tuesday during a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Capitol Security, which is chaired by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and includes members of all three branches of state government. The panel was told the chain-link fence ringing the Capitol building since the tension following the killing of George Floyd in late May will stay in place indefinitely.”

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Says the Star Tribune’s Paul Walsh, “An employee stole more than $315,000 from a northern Minnesota casino over more than six years, according to federal charges. Jennifer L. Boutto, 32, of Willow Valley Township, Minn., was charged Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis with embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization. The alleged embezzlement of $315,739.87 from the Fortune Bay Resort and Casino in Tower stretched from June 2013 to October 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

For the Business Journal Patrick Rehkamp reports, “18 lenders processed more than 1,000 PPP loans each on behalf of Minnesota-based applicants, yet about 250 lenders only processed one loan, according to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The top 10 lenders by total loans processed about 30% of the entire volume in the state of Minnesota. … Loan sizes ranged from the maximum of $10 million to just $42 for all of the roughly 102,000 applicants.”

Another Star Tribune story, this by Reid Forgrave says, “An online petition to stop a white supremacist church from making a small western Minnesota town its hub for Midwest activities has gained steam this week, quickly becoming one of the most popular petitions on Change.org. The petition to block the Asatru Folk Assembly — which was granted a permit last week by the Murdock City Council — gained more than 36,000 signatures by early evening Tuesday.”

In the Pioneer Press, Bob Shaw writes: “Coming to a street near you: Higher-speed bus routes. The Metropolitan Council is proposing three new routes that criss-cross the metro area, with service every 10 minutes. The Met Council will pick three projects to be completed between 2025 and 2030. In addition, the Met Council identified seven other rapid-bus routes, scheduled for completion after 2030. The cost of all 10 lines will be about $700 million in 2020 dollars, according to Katie Roth, assistant director for Bus Rapid-Transit projects. … The service of the new lines would be comparable to the Gold Line, a proposed rapid-transit bus line connecting Woodbury and St. Paul.”