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Minneapolis City Council to consider banning use of facial recognition technology by police

Plus: judge rejects bid to delay Chauvin trial; Minnesota dodges major post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases; uneven mask compliance among high school athletes; and more.

Minneapolis City Council
MinnPost file photo by Jessica Lee
Minneapolis City Council
For the Star Tribune, Libor Jany writes, “Minneapolis could soon join a small but growing number of American cities that have banned most uses of facial recognition technology by its police and other municipal departments. The proposal, which has been quietly discussed for months among a coalition of progressive groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, was signed off on without discussion by a City Council committee Thursday. The matter will next be taken up at a public comment session on Feb. 10 before going to the full council for a final vote on Feb. 12.”

The Associated Press reports: “A Minnesota judge said he won’t reconsider his decision to hold a March trial for the former Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for several minutes even though the Black man said he couldn’t breathe, according to a ruling made public Thursday. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled this month that Derek Chauvin will stand trial in March, as scheduled, and will be tried separately from the other three former officers who are charged in Floyd’s death. Earlier this week, prosecutors asked the judge to reconsider both decisions and to try all four officers together this summer, citing COVID-19 concerns as a primary factor.”

MPR reports: “Minnesota appears to have dodged a major post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases that officials had feared was coming, the state’s health commissioner said Thursday. ‘While we could still see an increase in cases as a result of the New Year’s holiday in particular, the evidence does suggest that we may have already seen our post-holiday spike, that thankfully it was a modest and manageable one,’ Jan Malcolm told reporters.”

For the Pioneer Press, Christopher Magan writes: “There’s one group Minnesota health officials especially want to see being tested for COVID-19 more often: young people. As schools, youth sports and other aspects of society begin to reopen after being shuttered to slow the coronavirus pandemic, health officials believe routine testing remains key to successfully managing the pandemic. .… To that end, the state Department of Health revised its testing guidelines Thursday and urged younger Minnesotans, particularly those between the ages of 12 and 25, to get tests. Anyone returning to school, extracurricular activities, or who expects to interact with people outside their immediate household should get tested.”

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Also in the Star Tribune, Jim Paulsen reports,One week into an abbreviated winter sports season, the wearing of masks by Minnesota high school athletes has generated frustration from schools and officials about uneven compliance during games. The Minnesota State High School League addressed the issue during a virtual meeting Thursday with school representatives. League officials reiterated that the mask mandate is accompanied by expectations of 100% compliance by the hundreds of teams and thousands of athletes competing across the state.”

MPR’s Brandt Williams says, “According to city gunshot detection data, more than 24,000 bullets flew in Minneapolis last year. And too often, the people who fired those bullets caused injury and death. More than 550 people were wounded by gunfire in 2020, which also includes those who were fatally shot. That represents a more than 100 percent increase over the tally in 2019.”

At KARE-TV Emily Haavik reports, “It was just an ordinary day after an extraordinary year at the Lunds & Byerlys in northeast Minneapolis. The general manager called the employees into her office on Wednesday, in groups of five or six. ‘She explained to us that it was a gift from these people who wanted to do something nice for us,’ said bakery and deli manager James Thompson. The manager handed out thank-you cards to each of the 89 employees. She told them to make sure they didn’t lose the card — there was $50 in each one.”

The AP’s Stephen Groves writes: “South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Thursday said she gave former president Donald Trump a $1,100 bust depicting the president on Mount Rushmore last year because she knew it was something he wanted to receive. The gift was presented to Trump when he visited South Dakota on July 3 for an Independence Day fireworks celebration. The Mount Rushmore miniature stood 4 feet (1.3 meters) and depicted Trump alongside former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. It was not immediately known where Trump’s face was positioned on the bust that Noem gave him.”

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