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Minneapolis braces for verdict as Chauvin trial goes to jury

Plus: protests over killing of Daunte Wright continue at rallies across Twin Cities; carjacking suspect dead after exchanging gunfire with police on I-35W; Twins postpone another game to deal with COVID issues; and more.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin telling the judge that he waived his right to testify to the jury, next to his defense attorney Eric Nelson, on the fourteenth day of Chauvin's trial.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin telling the judge that he waived his right to testify to the jury, next to his defense attorney Eric Nelson, on the fourteenth day of Chauvin's trial.
Pool via REUTERS

In the New York Times, Tim Arango writes: “As the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white former police officer charged with murder in the death of Mr. Floyd, a Black man, draws to a close, the city is on edge, fearing that a not-guilty verdict would bring anger, chaos and destruction once again. Last week, as the community was consumed by televised testimony in the trial, the Twin Cities region was rocked after Daunte Wright was shot dead by a police officer following a routine traffic stop in the suburban community of Brooklyn Center. … The testimony in the Chauvin trial is done; closing arguments are scheduled for Monday, and then the case goes to the jury. As the city awaits the verdict, which could come down as early as this week, there is a sense of life suspended — an inability to imagine what the world will look like after the jury of seven women and five men reaches its decision.”

WCCO-TV reports: “Tensions are high around the Twin Cities Sunday night, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is calling for calm as jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial are expected to be handed the case Monday. ‘Minnesotans I think know we can’t go through what we went through in May and June, and those folks who are out there asking for change need to be heard,’ Walz said. Minnesota National Guard members are stationed everywhere throughout the city Sunday.”

The Star Tribune’s Katie Galioto writes: “As the end of the Derek Chauvin trial draws closer, state and local officials have ordered a show of force that some say has transformed the Twin Cities into an eerie, alarming, almost alternate-reality version of their hometowns. Thousands of armed Guard members in fatigues are stationed on street corners — in front of libraries, laundromats, pharmacies, restaurants, office buildings and grocery stores. Businesses have boarded up windows, public buildings are surrounded by razor wire and for several nights last week curfews forced Twin Cities residents indoors after dark. Stung by criticism of the response to riots last spring, when more than 1,000 buildings and businesses were damaged, Gov. Tim Walz, Mayor Jacob Frey and other leaders have opted for a massive presence to maintain law and order.”

In the Pioneer Press, Kristi Belcamino says: “A neighborhood security team made up of Minnesota National Guard members and Minneapolis Police Department officers was the target of a drive-by shooting early Sunday morning in North Minneapolis. About 4:19 a.m. near Penn Avenue and Broadway Avenue, occupants of a light-colored SUV fired shots at the security team, according to a news release from Operation Safety Net. A National Guard member suffered minor injures from glass that shattered during the shooting and was treated at a local hospital. Other National Guard members suffered superficial injuries, according to the release.”

At ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski writes, “The NBA has instructed teams to be vigilant about the impact of a potential verdict this week in the Derek Chauvin trial for the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, including the possibility of game postponements, sources told ESPN. The looming specter of possible protests, civil unrest and team reactions in the aftermath of a verdict has the league office preparing for the prospect that a night or two of league games could be postponed this week, sources said.”

MPR reports: “Protests and rallies calling for justice after the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright continued for an eighth day Sunday around the Twin Cities. There was a march and rally near the Governor’s Residence in St. Paul, and a rally with a lengthy lineup of music and dance performances at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis. And people returned to the street outside the police department in Brooklyn Center, the city where Wright was fatally shot during a traffic stop a week ago. Sunday night’s protest drew a smaller crowd in the wet, blustery conditions, with another curfew in place starting at 11 p.m. It came at the end of a weekend that saw a police crackdown and dozens of protesters arrested on Friday night, and a calm night without confrontations on Saturday.”

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WCCO-TV reports: “Burnsville police say a carjacking suspect is dead after he fired multiple rounds at officers Sunday afternoon on Interstate 35W. It happened at about 3 p.m. on the interstate near County Road 13. Police say the suspect — a white man in his 20s — was being pursued by officers for driving a vehicle with stolen plates. The man crashed that car, then ran into a nearby TGI Friday’s restaurant, where he encountered a woman named Charmaine. She was getting dessert with her goddaughter, seated near the door, with her keys on the table.”

In the Pioneer Press, Mary Divine writes: “For more than a decade, land conservation groups, nonprofit organizations and government entities have been working to protect the former Wilder Forest and other land in northern Washington County from development. Now, officials say, their efforts are coming to fruition. By the end of the year, nearly 680 acres of undeveloped land in May Township and along the St. Croix River is expected to be preserved through a unique partnership involving the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, Minnesota Land Trust, Washington County and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

MPR’s Andrew Krueger writes: “As city and county parks departments in the Twin Cities prepare to reopen pools and resume activities that were canceled by the pandemic last year, they’re facing a new problem: a lack of summer workers. Parks officials from MinneapolisRamsey CountyBloomington and Apple Valley all said they’re not seeing the usual level of interest in openings for summer jobs. It’s causing growing concern that staffing may not be able to keep up with plans and demand for the return of summer activities — especially at aquatics facilities. A lack of applicants for lifeguard positions, which require special training and certification, is a particular worry.”

In the Star Tribune, Megan Ryan writes, “After calling off two of the three games against Anaheim, MLB also postponed Monday’s game at the Athletics while the Twins deal with COVID-19 issues on the team. There are four positive cases on the Twins, one staff member and three players. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons was the first to test positive ahead of the California trip and stayed back in Minnesota. A non-uniformed staff member then tested positive ahead of Friday’s game, a 10-3 loss for the Twins at Angel Stadium, and that sent a handful of other staff into contact-tracing quarantines. Before Saturday’s game, two more players tested positive, including left fielder Kyle Garlick. All have either shown mild symptoms or been asymptomatic.”