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Three more Minnesota law enforcement agencies withdraw from federal fugitive task force over body cameras

Plus: St. Paul Public Schools cancels rest of school year due to extreme heat; teens sue for right to legally carry handguns in Minnesota; Line 3 protesters maintain blockade; and more.

Earlier this year, both Minneapolis and St. Paul updated rules for when and how officers use mandatory cameras attached to their uniforms.
MinnPost file photo by Bill Kelley
Mara H. Gottfried writes for the Pioneer Press: “Another three local law enforcement departments said Tuesday they will withdraw from a federal fugitive task force in Minnesota until their officers are able to wear body cameras. The Minnesota Department of Corrections, which had one full-time officer assigned, and Anoka and Hennepin County sheriff’s offices, each with one deputy, will suspend participation in the U.S. Marshals Service North Star Fugitive Task Force. Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher announced Monday that he pulled five deputies from the task force until the body camera issue is resolved. Two task force members — Ramsey and Hennepin County sheriff’s deputies — fatally shot Winston Boogie Smith Jr., of St. Paul, while trying to arrest him on a Ramsey County weapons warrant in Minneapolis on Thursday.”

The AP reports: “The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in the case of Mohamed Noor, a former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of third-degree murder in the shooting death of an Australian woman who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home. Noor’s attorneys argue that a divided Minnesota Court of Appeals failed to follow legal precedents defining third-degree murder when it affirmed Noor’s conviction. The high court’s decision has repercussions for another high profile police killing case, the death of George Floyd. Besides second-degree murder, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was also convicted in April of third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter.”

Josh Verges writes in the Pioneer Press: “St. Paul Public Schools has canceled the final three days of the school year because of the unusually hot weather. Unlike Minneapolis Public Schools, which has students at 15 schools learning from home Tuesday through Thursday because of the heat, the St. Paul district will not continue teaching remotely. Rather, all instruction stopped Tuesday. … Only about one-third of St. Paul district schools have air conditioning. … However, three high schools recently had air conditioning installed for the first time as part of the district’s ongoing facilities improvement plan.”

Says MPR’s Paul Huttner, “It looks like our string of 90-degree days will run through Thursday and possibly Friday. Highs Wednesday again push into the mid- and upper 90s across most of southern and central Minnesota. It’s a steamy copy-and-paste forecast for Thursday, too. If we manage to hit 90 degrees Friday in the Twin Cities, that will put our current 90-degree day streak at nine days. That would tie the third longest streak of 90-degree days ever on record for the Twin Cities. The longest streak is 14 days in the brutal summer of 1934.”

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Says Stephen Montemayor in the Star Tribune, “Three young Minnesotans are suing for the right to legally carry handguns in public, alleging that the state’s minimum permitting age of 21 is discriminatory. The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, argues that even though U.S. citizens who are 18 years old are considered adults ‘for almost all purposes,’ the state unconstitutionally bans them from carrying handguns outside their homes or automobiles for self-defense. ‘There is simply no legal or constitutional justification that an entire class of adult citizens in Minnesota should be completely denied their fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms,’ said Bryan Strawser, chairman of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, which is also part of the lawsuit.”

Also from the PiPress’ Verges: “A St. Paul charter school last school year invested $5 million in a New Jersey hedge fund, in violation of state law, and most of that money may be lost forever. Auditors working to close the books on Hmong College Prep Academy’s 2019-20 financials disclosed the mistake to the school’s board during an emergency meeting in December. The school on Nov. 30 asked the hedge fund, Woodstock Capital Partners, to liquidate the investment, according to board meeting minutes. But multiple deadlines were missed, the hedge fund’s agent never showed up to board meetings, and the school ultimately received just $684,762. As of March, the loss had the school’s authorizer, Bethel University, concerned that the heavily leveraged school could default on its bonds, which could mean losing its school building in the Como neighborhood, where an expansion is underway.”

Evan Frost of MPR and the AP report, “Protesters fighting the Enbridge Energy company’s push to replace an aging oil pipeline across northern Minnesota maintained a blockade at a pump station Tuesday as part of a summer drive to stop the project before it can go into service. Two protesters spent the night locked down in a boat blocking the entrance to one construction site, while two others locked themselves down underneath, tucked in behind duffel bags, beach chairs, water bottles and clothing.”

A WCCO-TV story says, “The Minneapolis City Council’s Committee of the Whole announced an online public hearing for Mayor Jacob Frey’s spending proposal for the first round of federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act. The city council will begin reviewing the proposed spending plan in committee meetings this week before the public hearing, which is set for 6:05 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16. Frey outlined his plan for the first round of the $271 million in federal funding on June 4. The $89 million proposal includes $28 million for affordable housing, $37 million for economic recovery, $11.5 million for public safety, and a new Minneapolis GBI program at a cost of $3 million. Officials say approximately $12 million is budgeted for city enterprise investments, which includes furlough relief and other staff necessities.”

The Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal III writes: “A second-division women’s soccer league will kick off in 2022, and Minnesota will be home to one of the eight original franchises. The W-League is being touted as a pre-professional league that will emphasize player and coach development. Pre-professional means amateur, so the league will provide opportunities for college players to develop during the spring and summer and potentially become a pipeline to the National Women’s Soccer League, the top professional league in the country. Elite youth players, aspiring professional players and former professional players will also be eligible to play. Minnesota, for now, is the only expansion franchise among the eight teams.”