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Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo expected to testify at Chauvin trial as soon as Monday

Plus: Minnesota Legislature faces pressure to close a loophole in state’s criminal sexual conduct statute; business push back on plan to remove on-street parking from Hennepin Avenue in Uptown; Delta cancels flights due to staff shortages; and more.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo
MinnPost photo by Greta Kaul
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo
FOX 9 TV’s Hannah Flood reports: “The head of the Minneapolis Police Department is expected to take the stand on Monday as the trial for Derek Chauvin enters its second week of testimony. Chief Arradondo is expected to be a key witness for the prosecution, who in the past has commented on the case, calling George Floyd’s death a “murder” and writing that Chauvin should have known better than to keep his weight on. But, the chief will be limited on speaking on some subjects, including what factored into the decision to fire Chauvin. ‘I think we know what the chief is going to say, what he’s already said publicly is that he believes Derek Chauvin is guilty of murder,’ opined defense attorney Christa Groshek — who is not involved in the case.”

In the Pioneer Press, Bill Salisbury writes: “When the Minnesota Legislature reconvenes Tuesday after a 10-day Easter/Passover recess, lawmakers will be under mounting pressure to close a loophole in state law that allowed a rapist to escape a long prison sentence because his victim got herself drunk before the assault. Language to close that intoxication loophole is included in a comprehensive bill to update the state’s criminal sexual conduct statute that is moving through the House. A Minnesota Supreme Court ruling March 24 regarding a rape victim called attention to the need for legislators to act quickly, the bill’s chief sponsor, DFL Rep. Kelly Moller of Shoreview, said in an interview last week.”

The Forum News Service reports: “After closing down a portion of Minnesota 61 north of Silver Bay on Saturday due to multiple wildfires, wildland fire crews from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources continued to patrol for wildfires along the North Shore of Lake Superior or Sunday. Residents and motorists traveling along Highway 61 can expect to continue to see crews dousing lingering fire hotspots, according to a news release from the DNR. It’s not expected that planes will be called back in to fight the fires; however, helicopters may be brought in to help ground crews. On Saturday, multiple fires burned an estimated 45 acres. Several aircraft were called in to slow down the wildfires. Six local fire departments worked on the ground to suppress the wildfires. The cause of the fires remains under investigation.”

Reports MPR News: “With bright sunshine and unseasonable warmth making it feel more like summer, George Floyd Square in south Minneapolis hosted the People’s Power Love Fest on Sunday. The event was part of a push to gather support for a proposal to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Public Safety Department — one of several reform plans proposed in the wake of George Floyd’s killing last May. But the festival also brought music, dance and speakers to the corner of 38th and Chicago, with some of the spectators holding portraits of Floyd as they watched the performances..”

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The Star Tribune’s Tim Harlow writes: “A battle over on-street parking is underway in the Uptown area of south Minneapolis, where the city plans to give Hennepin Avenue its first major makeover since 1957. The city is exploring two options for upgrading Hennepin from just south of the Walker Art Center to Lake Street. Both designs would slim the bustling corridor to one travel lane in each direction and bring amenities such as wider sidewalks, dedicated bus lanes and possibly room for bikes. To fit it all in, the city would eliminate about 90% of curbside parking spots.”

For Politico, David Cohen writes, “A leading epidemiologist said Sunday the nation has to accept that a new wave of Covid cases has hit the United States. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, echoed the warnings of CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, who said last week: ‘I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.’  … Osterholm said Americans were not being realistic in the face of this new spike, which he said was being driven by a Covid variant. ‘We are the only country in the world right now experiencing this increasing number of cases due to this variant and at the same time, opening up, not closing down,’ he told host Chris Wallace. ‘The two basically are going to collide, and we are going to see substantially increased number of cases.’”

MPR’s Kristi Marohn reports: “The city of Bemidji recently reached a settlement with 3M to help pay for treating contamination in the city’s water supply. 3M will pay $12.5 million toward building and operating a new treatment facility to remove chemicals known as PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. The city discovered elevated levels of PFAS in its wells in 2016. It’s believed that the source of the contamination was firefighting foam used during training at the regional airport, which is located near the wells.  3M manufactured PFAS used in aqueous film-forming foam used for suppressing fires for decades. PFAS is a broad category of man-made compounds sometimes known as ‘forever chemicals’ because of their tendency not to break down in the environment.”

Says Frank Miles for Fox Business, “About 100 Delta Air Lines flights were canceled on Sunday because of staff shortages, according to reports. … Some employees were having adverse side effects from their COVID-19 vaccinations. … Air travel in the United States is recovering from pandemic lows. More than 1 million travelers have gone through U.S. airports for each of the last 20 days, although March traffic remains down nearly half from the same period in 2019.”

WCCO-TV reports: A man who parked his car right outside the front door of a western Wisconsin sheriff’s office was arrested Sunday afternoon on suspicion of driving under the influence — his eighth such offense. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says a state trooper was called to the Burnett County Sheriff’s Department in Siren to check on the driver of a vehicle, which was parked right outside with its doors and hood all opened. The trooper soon noticed that the driver, a 49-year-old Shell Lake man, appeared intoxicated. He was arrested after failing a field sobriety test, and taken to an area hospital for a blood draw.”

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