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Brooklyn Center pushes forward with proposed overhaul of city’s policing

Plus: Walz says state ready to vaccinate 12-15 year-olds after FDA grants Pfizer emergency use authorization; Great Lakes start to recede after two years of high water; Twin Cities restaurant owners charged with 46 counts of tax fraud; and more.

The Brooklyn Center Police Department guarded by members of the police and National Guard.
The Brooklyn Center Police Department guarded by members of the police and National Guard.
REUTERS/Leah Millis

MPR’s Matt Sepic writes: “City leaders in Brooklyn Center say they could vote as soon as this Saturday on a proposed overhaul of policing in the community. …Over the weekend, Mayor Mike Elliott outlined a number of law enforcement changes he’d like to see. But some council members say the plan needs refinement before it can be implemented. Among other things, Elliott wants to send unarmed mental health professionals, rather than police, to help people experiencing behavioral health crises. The mayor’s plan also calls for an ‘unarmed civilian traffic enforcement department’ to handle nonmoving violations, such as expired license plates. His proposal comes a month after officer Kim Potter shot and killed Daunte Wright after a traffic stop. … At a council meeting Monday evening, Elliott said his plan is broad by design, and an implementation committee will work out the finer points.”

WCCO-TV reports: “Gov. Tim Walz says Minnesota is ready to vaccinate children ages 12 to 15 after the Food and Drug Administration earlier Monday granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer shot for that age range. The FDA’s authorization is another step towards getting younger Americans vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will issue final federal guidance later this week. ‘We have been planning and preparing for this moment and are ready to begin vaccinating teens 12 and older,’ Walz said in a statement. ‘Start making your plan, Minnesota — let’s get our kids their shot as soon as possible so they are fully vaccinated and protected in time for a fun, safe summer.’”

For the Associated Press, John Flesher writes: “A spell of dry, mild weather is giving the Great Lakes a break after two years of high water that has shattered records and heavily damaged shoreline roads and homes, officials said Monday. Although still above normal, the lakes have dropped steadily since last fall and are expected to remain below 2020 levels for most of this year, according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers forecast. ‘Over the next six months, the worst is behind us,’ said John Allis, chief of Great Lakes hydrology for the Corps’ Detroit district. ‘We really shouldn’t be seeing anywhere near the record highs that we saw last year.’ But officials cautioned that it’s too early to declare an end to the high-water period.”

From the Pioneer Press, Ross Raihala writes: “With COVID-19 restrictions lifting, promoters are making changes to summertime live music events. The Basilica Block Party, one of the biggest festivals in the metro, will now take place Sept. 10 and 11 outside at the Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis. Organizers canceled it altogether in 2020 and had initially hoped to stage it July 9 and 10 this summer. The lineup and ticket details will be announced in the coming weeks. Also, organizers of the 2021 Relief Sessions Summer Concert Series have announced some changes to its format. Initially, the series was set to feature drive-in style concerts.”

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At FOX 9, Tim Blotz reports, “The fight over a Whites-only church in Western Minnesota has found its way to court. One of the leaders of the Asatru Folk Assembly asked a judge for a restraining order against the organizer of an opposition community group that’s been trying to educate the public about the Murdock, Minnesota church. … That organizer, Victoria Guillemard, is a second-year law student at Mitchell Hamline.”

In the Pioneer Press, Nick Ferraro writes: “A 32-year-old St. Paul man twice last week recorded and posted videos on social media that showed him pretending that he wanted a COVID-19 vaccine, but instead walking off with the vials that he said were ‘poison’ and wanted to have tested in a lab. Thomas Edward Humphrey, who touts his involvement with an anti-governmental group, has gained national attention since making the videos and posting them on Facebook. He also has the attention of local law enforcement. Oakdale police said Monday they have opened a theft investigation after Allina Health reported May 4 that Humphrey took a vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from the clinic’s vaccination site in the city. He left before police officers arrived.”

A KARE-TV story says, “The emergency exit door flew off a small plane leaving the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Wednesday. Tom Yon, a Michigan man who was seated next to the exit, told his story to KARE 11 news partner KBJR. He was on a small eight-person plane flown by private aircraft company Boutique Airlines, headed to Ironwood, Michigan. At about 3 p.m. Wednesday, the plane was picking up speed to take off when the door next to Yon flew open. ‘We were just about to take off, probably going I don’t know, 100 miles per hour, and the door just flew off,’ Yon said.”

MPR’s Kirsti Marohn writes, “Roxxanne O’Brien was just pulling up to her home from the grocery store one day last month when she got a call that a pile of debris at Northern Metal Recycling was on fire. O’Brien, an environmental justice activist, was part of a group that helped push the company to move its metal shredder out of their north Minneapolis neighborhood nearly two years ago, as part of a settlement with state regulators over air pollution violations. … ‘I feel angry about the latest fire, and the probability that it can happen again,’ she said. ‘I don’t think there’ll be any action or accountability or even consequences, because there hasn’t been this far.’”

Says a Paul Walsh story for the Star Tribune, “Two restaurant owners in the west metro purposely underreported sales and cheated the state out of nearly $240,000 in a long-running and ‘highly sophisticated scheme,’  according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. Su ‘Audrey’ Qian, 43, and Xu Sheng ‘Jacky’ Wang, 45, both of Plymouth, were charged in District Court last week with 46 counts of tax fraud in connection with the scheme they perpetuated from Raku Sushi & Lounge in the West End retail district in St. Louis Park and Raku in Edina’s 50th and France shopping district. The state Department of Revenue’s two-year investigation resulted in Qian being charged with 16 counts of tax fraud and Wang with 14 counts. As a business, the restaurant was charged with 14 counts of failure to pay or collect sales taxes. Qian faces two additional counts of using an automated sales suppression device to commit tax fraud.”

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