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Former MPD supervisor: Chauvin should have stopped restraining Floyd earlier

Plus: seating capacities expanding at various Minnesota venues; state joins effort to seek refunds, loan cancellations for former ITT Technical Institute students; proposed plaque would honor first Black professional baseball player’s time in Stillwater; and more.

Retired Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Ploeger answering questions on the fourth day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Retired Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Ploeger answering questions on the fourth day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Pool via REUTERS

MPR’s Riham Feshir, Jon Collins and Brandt Williams report: “The force used by Minneapolis police to subdue George Floyd wasn’t needed after Floyd stopped resisting, Derek Chauvin’s then-supervisor testified Thursday during Chauvin’s murder and manslaughter trial. David Pleoger, now a retired police sergeant, told the court that he called Chauvin after hearing concerns raised by a 911 operator who felt something didn’t seem right as she glanced at streaming video of Floyd’s arrest from a public safety camera outside Cup Foods. Pleoger said Chauvin told him only that Floyd ‘suffered a medical emergency’ and nothing about keeping his knee pressed against Floyd’s neck as the man lay handcuffed and face down on the pavement.”

For USA Today, Barbara McQuade writes, “Why aren’t the lawyers objecting more? That’s a question I have been hearing since the trial of Derek Chauvin began Monday. … The answer is that good lawyers stay out of the way of the evidence. … prosecutors began with testimony from a police dispatcher who said that for the first time in her career she had ‘called the police on the police’ because what she observed was so disturbing. In fact, she testified, Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck for so long that she thought the video feed must have been frozen. That kind of powerful testimony makes for a compelling start to the trial. Look for an equally strong witness to be called last.”

Says Kate Raddatz for WCCO-TV, “As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, seating capacities are expanding at popular Minnesota venues. The rollback will allow thousands of fans to see live sports again. The ease-up, which went into effect on Thursday, includes guidelines for both indoor and outdoor venues like arenas, gyms, and restaurants. Previously, those spaces had capacity restrictions and a maximum of 250 people. Fans were excited to head to the Xcel Energy Center for the Minnesota State High School League Girl’s Hockey Tournament. Thursday morning’s game was the first that allowed up to 3,000 fans inside. … Indoor seated venues with a capacity above 500 can now have an additional 15% of the occupant capacity above 500, with a maximum of 3,000 people.”

The Star Tribune’s Mara Klecker says, “Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has joined 24 other state attorneys general in seeking payment refunds and the cancellation of student loans for former students of ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit college that closed in 2016. … The college misled students about the value of a degree, according to the application. Under federal law, the U.S. Department of Education can forgive federal student loans for borrowers who were deceived. More than 1,200 Minnesotans were enrolled at ITT, either online or at one of two Minnesota campuses.”

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Another WCCO-TV story says, “The extension for those who had their driver’s license, instruction permits or ID cards expire during the COVID-19 pandemic has now ended, and thousands now have invalid licenses. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services Division, the extension ended March 31 and approximately 113,814 people now have invalid licenses.

KSTP-TV’s Kyle Brown reports: “One day after the conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate, Pierce County health officials announced Thursday it would require masking in indoor public spaces. In a news release, Pierce County Public Health said the advisory order requires all people ages 5 and older to wear masks in indoor public spaces in which a non-household member is in the same room or enclosed space. The order is set to stay in effect through June 4 to align with the last day of school for most Pierce County school districts. … Snyder also pointed to the new, more infectious strains of COVID-19 cropping up and the lack of ICU beds available in the Twin Cities. Pierce County is just across the St. Croix River from Washington, Dakota and Goodhue counties.”

In the Star Tribune, Matt McKinney writes: “The man many people consider to be the first Black professional baseball player in the U.S. played one season in Stillwater, and now the local historical society wants to have a plaque installed on the field where he played. John W. ‘Bud’ Fowler pitched and played 66 games in 1884 with the Stillwater baseball team, a short-lived team in the Northwestern League, which didn’t last much longer. He was the league’s only Black player, managing to win a spot in organized baseball even as the sport moved toward open discrimination against Black athletes. … Fowler’s considerable legacy in baseball already includes a street named for him in Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Hall of Fame. A plaque in Stillwater would mark his time in the city when it was a booming lumber town, flush with cash and rapidly growing, said Brent Peterson, executive director of the Washington County Historical Society.”

In the Pioneer Press, Betsy Helfand writes: “All the pageantry of Opening Day had been made sweeter with the sounds of fans back in the stands. After a slow spring, regular-season Max Kepler showed up and fell a home run short of the cycle. Byron Buxton hit a tape-measure two-run blast, the longest home run of his career. The Twins’ bullpen had been nearly unhittable, and inside a stadium with its retractable roof closed, there were no weather issues to speak of. … And then it all unraveled. After a slow beginning to the game — it lasted 4 hours, 14 minutes in total — the painful part went quickly, and the Twins wound up falling 6-5 to the Milwaukee Brewers in 10 innings Thursday at American Family Field when an Orlando Arcia chopper brought home Lorenzo Cain to complete their comeback victory.”

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