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Extensive body camera footage introduced at Chauvin trial

Plus: more students of color in Minnesota choosing distance learning; DFL leader says state House will vote on recreational marijuana by end of session; Twins open season at Milwaukee; and more.

An image from police body camera video played in court on the third day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
An image from police body camera video played in court on the third day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Pool via REUTERS

MPR’s Riham Feshir, Jon Collins and Brandt Williams report: “Jurors in the murder trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin viewed extended, intense police body camera footage on Wednesday capturing multiple views of the May 25 incident that ended in Floyd’s killing in police custody. Viewed in succession, the videos offered a brutal, up-close look at officers struggling to push a handcuffed Floyd into the squad car, then pinning him to the pavement to subdue him as he pleads that he can’t breathe, while bystanders on the curb yell that Floyd is dying.”

For CNN, Eric Levenson and Eric Cooper report, “Moments after George Floyd was taken away in an ambulance last May, former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was confronted by a witness who took issue with Chauvin’s kneeling on Floyd’s neck. ‘That’s one person’s opinion,’ Chauvin responded as he got into his squad car. ‘We had to control this guy because he’s a sizable guy. It looks like he’s probably on something.’ The short clip from Chauvin’s own body camera, played in his criminal trial Wednesday, represents the first time the public has heard the ex-officer’s perspective in the 10 months since Floyd died under his knee, launching a worldwide protest movement.”

In The Washington Post, opinion columnist James Hohman writes, “Our lives, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. warned, begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Derek Chauvin’s defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, repeatedly suggested during the opening days of his client’s murder trial that the then-Minneapolis police officer did not take his knee off George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds because he felt threatened by a hostile crowd that was screaming at him to stop. … Since the 9/11 attacks, government agencies of all kinds have urged Americans who ‘see something’ to ‘say something.’ That is what the Minneapolis bystanders did. Confronted with officers betraying the police department’s motto — ‘To protect with courage, to serve with compassion’ — they spoke out. More of us need to follow their example.”

For the Star Tribune, Chao Xiong reports, “A man who was with George Floyd the day he died in Minneapolis police custody filed a notice with the court Wednesday saying he will invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination if he is asked to testify in court. The Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office filed the notice on behalf of Morries Hall, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of a vehicle with Floyd, who was in the driver’s seat, when police approached Floyd for allegedly using a fake $20 bill at Cup Foods in south Minneapolis.”

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Josh Verges writes in the Pioneer Press: “The former principal of Hugo Elementary had his administrator’s license revoked late last year for sexually harassing a teacher and making offensive comments about staff and students at his school. Jason Healy, 49, resigned from White Bear Lake Area Schools in January 2020. According to Minnesota Board of School Administrators records, Healy sexually harassed a teacher under his supervision by offering to ‘deviate from school policies’ if the teacher would join him at his house. … The board also found Healy “made racist, sexist and homophobic comments” to the same teacher about students and other employees at the school.

Elizabeth Shockman writes for MPR: “It’s not that Tre Hadley prefers virtual classes. … Hadley, 17, misses seeing his friends. He misses being a part of school events. … Still, he’s decided to remain in virtual learning for the rest of the year. … Hadley is among the more than 40 percent of African American students who’ve chosen to stay home, even when in-person classes resume in mid-April. Native American students are staying home at similar rates. Forty-four percent of Hispanic students and almost 60 percent of Asian students have made the same choice. White students are the most eager to return to in-person learning, with only 34.5 percent opting to stick with distance learning.”

In The New York Times, Matt Furber writes: “Customers inside Cup Foods put their shopping on pause on Wednesday morning to watch the Derek Chauvin trial on a television mounted above an A.T.M. The coverage again thrust the store into the spotlight as a former employee took the stand and previously unseen surveillance video from inside the store on the day George Floyd died was shown for the first time. ‘This is the first time I’ve seen this footage — it was seized the morning after,’ said Mike Abumayyaleh, who owns Cup Foods along with his brothers.”

For KMSP-TV Theo Keith reports, “A top Minnesota House Democrat said his chamber will vote by the end of the legislative session to legalize recreational marijuana. Democrats have aggressively pushed their adult-use marijuana legislation through four committees this session, even as Republicans who control the Senate vow to block the bill. GOP members in the Senate are debating an expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program instead. The House bill will be done with its remaining committee stops in April and be ready for a floor vote in May, Majority Leader Ryan Winkler told FOX 9 in an email.”

Says Erin Hassanzadeh for WCCO-TV, “Climate experts say winters are evolving. They’re trending milder, and that impacts activities and businesses many Minnesotans love, as well as things that are often unseen. … It is just one of the consequences of Minnesota winters becoming shorter and less cold, according to state climatologist Luigi Romolo. ‘Ice-out’s probably occurring about three or four days earlier per decade over the last 30 to 40 years,’ Romolo said.

The Pioneer Press’ Betsy Helfand writes: “The Twins begin their 2021 season at 1:10 p.m. Thursday at American Family Field in Milwaukee against the Brewers. They harbor the same World Series aspirations as the previous year. Coming off two straight division titles with no playoff wins to show for it, they’re ready for more. The Twins’ 2019 season was defined by its offense, smashing so many home runs that they became better known as the “Bomba Squad.” Last year, they were carried by their pitching. This year? It’s time to find out.”

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