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Judge rejects bid to reinstate third-degree murder charges against Chauvin

Plus: questions about how Buffalo shooting suspect obtained a gun; Postal Service plans to rebuild Minneapolis’ Minnehaha station in same location as one that burned in 2020; Wisconsin judge refuses to issue a new arrest warrant for Kyle Rittenhouse; and more.

Derek Chauvin booking photo
Derek Chauvin booking photo
Minnesota Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS

At MPR, Jon Collins says, “The judge overseeing the trial of a former police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd has rejected a motion to reinstate third-degree murder charges. Prosecutors had asked Judge Peter Cahill to reinstate third-degree murder charges against former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin. They cited a recent appeals court decision upholding that charge for another former officer, Mohamed Noor, who was convicted in the shooting death of 911-caller Justine Ruszczyk in 2019.  But the judge said the appeals court decision was not yet precedent because it could still be appealed to the state Supreme Court. Cahill said he disagreed with the majority decision that the third-degree murder charge, which is known as ‘depraved mind’ murder, could be directed at only one person. ”

Amy Forliti and Mohamed Ibrahim write for the AP: “Authorities charged a Minnesota man with murder on Thursday in an attack on a health clinic that left a medical assistant dead and four other staff members wounded, releasing new details of how the assault unfolded while brushing aside questions about whether more could have been done to prevent it. … Law enforcement said after the attack that Ulrich was no stranger to them and was known to have been angry over his medical treatment. But on Thursday, they said they had had no ‘recent’ interactions with Ulrich that would have raised alarms before the attack in Buffalo, a small city about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis.”

For KSTP-TV, Eric Rasmussen and Joe Augustine report: “As details emerge about the deadly shooting at a health clinic in Buffalo, investigators have yet to answer one key question: how did a man with a documented mental illness get his hands on a gun? Gregory Ulrich was found mentally incompetent last year. Under state law, anyone found incompetent to stand trial is banned from possessing a firearm. Investigators say Ulrich walked into the Allina Health Clinic on Tuesday morning, pulled out a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun and fired 11 shots, wounding four people and killing one. Ulrich ‘did not have a permit to carry this handgun in public,’ investigators wrote in court records. They did not say how Ulrich obtained the gun.”

A WCCO-TV story says, “The U.S. Postal Services says that they now plan on rebuilding the Minnehaha location in South Minneapolis in the same location of the one that was burned in last year’s rioting following the death of George Floyd. The location, at 3033 27th Avenue South, was one of two post offices that was damaged by fire following the Memorial Day incident, in which former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for minutes on end during an attempted arrest.”

The Star Tribune’s Kim Hyatt writes, “One of five accusers in an ongoing criminal sexual conduct case against a former Anoka-Hennepin middle school teacher and arts instructor says a loophole in Minnesota’s mandated reporting law allowed their abuse to go unreported for years. Zander Danielson Sellie, 26, recently testified in support of a bill before the state Legislature that would expand the definition of ‘mandatory reporters’ to include adults beyond education and child care. Sellie …was a teenage participant in the Young Artists Initiative (YAI) more than a decade ago when founder Jefferson Fietek allegedly raped them. Though Sellie shared what happened in a Facebook post, and then attended a follow-up meeting with their parents and other adults, none of those people reported the allegation to law enforcement.”

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Says Cody Matz for KMSP-TV, “As of Thursday, we have seen five consecutive days with high temperatures in the single digits or colder. This stretch is likely to continue to at least Monday. That means we’ll have at least 10 days in a row where temps don’t make it above 9 degrees. While this may seem common in the Twin Cities metro, it’s not. We haven’t seen a stretch like this since we had 15 consecutive days back in 1974. The closest was seven straight days in 2007.”

MPR’s Paul Huttner says, “The core of the coldest air with this Arctic outbreak arrives Saturday through President’s Day. The American GFS model continues to crank out low temperatures colder than minus 20 for the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota Sunday morning. Even the conservative European model cranks out minus 20 for the Twin Cities Monday morning.”

For NPR, Laurel Wamsley reports, “A Wisconsin judge has refused to issue a new arrest warrant for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old charged with killing two people in Kenosha, Wis., during protests last summer. Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder also refused to increase Rittenhouse’s bail. Prosecutors had asked Schroeder last week to issue a new arrest warrant and raise Rittenhouse’s bail by $200,000, arguing that he violated conditions of his bond. They say he did not inform the court of his change of address. Attorneys for Rittenhouse say that their client withheld his new address because of threats to his safety. The judge agreed to keep the new address sealed and available only to certain members of the court moving forward, over protests from prosecutors.”

For the AP, Steven Groves reports, “[South Dakota] Gov. Kristi Noem on Thursday defended her push to shield donor information of non-profit organizations that influence public policy, including one group that was connected to her campaign. The Republican governor said the bill was intended to protect the privacy rights of donors who wish to anonymously contribute to charities. Although she insisted it ‘does absolutely nothing on campaign finance,’ critics said it would further the use of ‘dark money’ — contributions raised to influence policy and elections without clearly disclosing the individual donors. … Advocates for greater campaign finance transparency are worried by a trend of state legislatures moving to protect donor information in the last few years.”