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MPD training instructor: Chauvin used unauthorized neck restraint on Floyd

Plus: Minnesota legislators present different plans for changing state election laws; 25 days of COVID-19 case growth in Minnesota; 10-year-old boy takes minivan to buy Cheerios in Stillwater; and more.

Use-of-force instructor Lt. Johnny Mercil answering questions during the seventh day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Use-of-force instructor Lt. Johnny Mercil answering questions during the seventh day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Pool via REUTERS

For MPR, Brandt Williams, Riham Feshir, Jon Collins and Matt Sepic report: “A key part of Derek Chauvin’s murder trial defense is that the Minneapolis officer’s use of force against Floyd last May was appropriate and in line with department policy. But high-ranking Minneapolis police leaders — including Chief Medaria Arradondo — have spent the past few days testifying that simply isn’t so. On Tuesday, a Minneapolis use-of-force instructor testified that officers aren’t trained to use their legs or knees on somebody’s neck, while another police official told jurors that Chauvin received extensive training in how to defuse tense situations.

The Star Tribune’s Glenn Howatt reports, “The Minnesota COVID-19 case growth rate has gone up for 25 consecutive days when other critical trend lines are also heading in the wrong direction, according to state health officials. The state’s test positivity rate and hospitalization growth rate are also at levels that public officials consider to be warning signs.”

At MPR, Tim Pugmire reports, “Minnesota legislators presented two dramatically different plans Tuesday for changing state election law. Republicans in the Minnesota Senate rolled out a bill that would require a new provisional ballot system for people who register to vote on Election Day. The practice of voters verifying the eligibility of others through vouching would be eliminated. Another provision would prohibit ranked-choice voting in the state. In the House, majority Democrats are also proposing big changes to election law. Their bill would restore the voting rights of felons who have completed jail time. It would also establish an automatic voter registration system tied to getting a driver’s license.”

At KMSP-TV Theo Keith tells us, “The new, more secure fence around the Minnesota State Capitol will cost taxpayers more than $116,000, state records indicate. Crews installed the fence over the weekend as a security measure during the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd in May 2020. The installation cost $68,117 and the fence carries a $12,015 a month rental charge. The state has rented the fence for four months, according to the purchase order. Officials in Gov. Tim Walz’s administration have insisted that the fence is not a permanent fixture at the Capitol. Yet the four-month rental agreement suggests that it will have a long-term presence.”

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In the Pioneer Press, Kristi Belcamino writes: “The Minnesota State Patrol says Interstate 35W was closed in both directions at Burnsville Parkway on Tuesday night after a passing thunderstorm brought down electrical transmission wires. Troopers responded to the scene, the State Patrol announced around 7:45 p.m. It was unclear when the freeway would be reopened, but the State Patrol said the closure could be for “an extended period of time.” The Minnesota Department of Transportation said the closure could last until at least 11:45 p.m. Northbound I-35W traffic was being diverted onto northbound Interstate 35E.”

Jim Spencer and Joe Carson write in the Star Tribune: “A federal appeals court has ruled that Medtronic can be sued for allegedly defrauding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a long-running dispute over whether the medical device maker deceived regulators to avoid costly safety studies. According to a federal whistleblower lawsuit filed in California by former Medtronic sales representative Bryan Shapiro, the device maker purposely misled FDA reviewers to believe several ‘Verte-Stack’-branded vertebral-replacement devices are designed for use in the lower spine.”

Also from FOX 9: “All COVID-19 vaccinations scheduled to take place Wednesday at the Minnesota Vikings practice facility in Eagan are being postponed after the center suffered weather damage, according to an official with state emergency operations center. Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center had been serving as a temporary, state-run community COVID-19 vaccination site.”

The AP reports: “North Dakota’s Republican-led Legislature passed a bipartisan bill Tuesday to recognize Juneteenth as a ceremonial holiday in the state — one of just three that does not observe it in some way. West Fargo, N.D., GOP Rep. Austen Schauer, who carried the bill on the House floor, said the recognition of Juneteenth ‘is a step of good will toward becoming a nation of respect to each other.’ Juneteenth — also known as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day — commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free in 1865 in Galveston, Texas, where Union soldiers brought them the news two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.”

In the Pioneer Press, Mary Divine writes: “The 10-year-old Stillwater boy who took his family’s 2016 Chrysler minivan out for a drive on Sunday night told police he was headed to the store to buy Cheerios for breakfast. A police officer spotted the young driver behind the wheel around 9:30 p.m. Sunday near Second Street North and Mulberry Street, Police Chief Brian Mueller said. The officer turned the squad car around and activated its emergency lights and siren, ‘and the kid took off,’ Mueller said. The officer immediately stopped the pursuit ‘out of concern for the boy’s safety,’ but continued to follow him through the city’s North Hill neighborhood without the squad car’s emergency lights or siren activated, Mueller said.”

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