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Duluth police face calls for accountability after report details disparities in arrests, use of force

Plus: lawmaker wants to shut down Northstar Commuter Rail line; Daily Mail asks Court of Appeals to throw out order denying it credentials for Chauvin trial; Wisconsin governor signs law allowing bars and restaurants to sell cocktails to go; and more.

Duluth’s WDIO reports: “The Duluth Chapter of the NAACP made a call for police accountability in front of the St. Louis County District Courthouse during a press conference Friday afternoon. Chapter President Classie Dudley said they wanted to draw community attention to a public report released by the Law Enforcement Accountability Network which shows that African Americans and Native Americans in Duluth were disproportionally the recipients of use of force and arrests by the police department. ‘Make no mistake, police accountability starts with our community, not within the systems,’ said Dudley.”

In the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: “A Minnesota attorney who filed legal challenges to the November election of five congressional Democrats was given a $10,000 sanction Friday after a judge found she ‘bamboozled’ voters into signing on as plaintiffs without their knowledge or permission. …. [Susan] Shogren Smith is a member of the MN Election Integrity Team, a conservative group that sought to prevent the state from certifying its election results while President Donald Trump and his allies promoted unfounded claims of election fraud. Those legal challenges were filed in the names of 14 separate voters, at least four of whom had no idea they were participating.”

The Star Tribune’s Janet Moore reports: “Earlier this month, fewer than 120 passengers per weekday climbed aboard the Northstar Commuter Rail line — a stark example of how the COVID-19 pandemic has savaged public transportation ridership. Northstar ridership has plunged 96% since the coronavirus struck, prompting new conversations about possibly shuttering the 12-year-old line connecting downtown Minneapolis to Big Lake. A measure introduced at the Minnesota Legislature last week by Rep. Jon Koznick, R-Lakeville, calls for the rail line to be mothballed.”

The AP reports: “A British newspaper asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Friday to swiftly throw out a judge’s order denying it credentials for a former police officer’s trial in George Floyd’s death. Hennepin County Chief Judge Toddrick Barnette on Wednesday sanctioned the London-based Daily Mail for publishing video from police body cameras before its public release. He alleged the footage had been ‘stolen,’ and denied the newspaper access to the media center near the courthouse where Derek Chauvin will be tried, along with access to trial exhibits and “all media updates related to the trial.”

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Alex Chhith writes in the Star Tribune: “Serial rapist Jory Wiebrand was sentenced Friday to nearly 46 years in prison for assaulting women in Minneapolis’ Marcy-Holmes neighborhood near the University of Minnesota. The 35-year-old Ham Lake man pleaded guilty in Hennepin County District Court to four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and second-degree criminal sexual conduct on Friday. He was sentenced to 550 months in prison, according to a news release from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.”

Also in the Pioneer Press, Betsy Helfand writes: “Mike Bell, who joined the Twins ahead of 2020 season to take over as the team’s bench coach, died on Friday after a battle with kidney cancer. He was 46. He is survived by his wife, Kelly, and their three children, Luke, Mikayla and Madeline. Bell, who comes from a three-generation Major League Baseball family, was preparing for his 29th season in professional baseball when he was diagnosed with cancer in January. The Twins made his diagnosis public last month shortly before spring training began, and at the time, they sounded optimistic about his condition.”

Also from the AP:  “Bars and restaurants in Wisconsin can now sell cocktails to go. Gov. Tony Evers signed the bill into law Friday, just before happy hour. The bill won bipartisan approval in the Legislature. It allows for mixed drinks and glasses of wine to be sold to go as long as they have tamper-evident seals. It takes effect immediately. The drinks could be sold for pickup only, not delivery. More than 30 states have similar laws.”