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Rep. John Thompson issues statement, calls for release of traffic stop footage

Plus: new law sets standards for absentee ballot drop boxes in Minnesota; 12-year-old shooting clay pigeons in Stearns County accidentally shoots three bystanders; Minnesota United CEO to step down at end of 2021 season; and more.

State Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St. Paul, said at a press conference Walz needed to “show some testicular fortitude” and was giving Black lawmakers and their constituents “lip service” rather than leadership in cutting a deal with Senate Republicans.
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
State Rep. John Thompson
Dave Orrick writes in the Pioneer Press: “The Black St. Paul state lawmaker under a spotlight after being cited for driving with suspended privileges and calling it racial profiling responded publicly for the first time Monday evening. State Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St. Paul, released a statement that covered several aspects of his stop, the circumstances that led up his illegal driving status, and the questions that were raised after it became clear that he has been renewing his Wisconsin driving license since 2005. In a statement that was at times defiant and at other times contrite, Thompson did not back down from his assertion that he was the victim of racial profiling. But he cast it as a systemic issue, rather than an accusation against the individual St. Paul sergeant who pulled him over for not displaying a front license plate on his vehicle.”

On the same story, WCCO-TV reports: “WCCO looked at a copy of the ticket issued by St. Paul police to Thompson. On the ticket, it says his home address is on Blair Avenue in St. Paul. The problem is that this house is not in his district, and state law requires state representatives to live in their district.”

Tim Pugmire of MPR says, “The COVID-19 pandemic made absentee ballot drop boxes a popular option for voters.  However, until now, there has been no uniform standard governing their use. ‘Minnesota law basically said there is such a thing as drop boxes and you can use them. Period,’ said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. ‘There was no other meat on the bone.’ Now there is some meat, with minimum security and integrity standards for local election officials to follow if they choose [to] use drop boxes. State statute now defines a drop box as a secure receptacle or container that is accessible 24 hours a day.  Drop boxes must be designed to prevent tampering, be protected from weather and emptied at least once per business day. There must also be continual video recording during the absentee voting period.”

The Washington Post’s Holly Bailey writes: “Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced last month to 22½ years in prison for murder in Floyd’s death. Three other former officers are awaiting trial in the case. And while [Lola] Velazquez-Aguilu never set foot in the courtroom, she is credited with playing a key role in the trial, including finding an expert witness who was crucial to the prosecution’s case: a pulmonologist who had studied and written about the mechanics of breathing. Now, Velazquez-Aguilu is one of three finalists to be the next U.S. attorney for Minnesota, a nomination that is expected to be announced soon. If nominated by the Biden administration and confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first Hispanic person to lead the U.S. attorney’s office in the state and only the third woman.”

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In the Star Tribune, Jenny Berg writes, “A 12-year-old shooting clay pigeons at a family gathering Saturday afternoon in Melrose Township accidentally shot three bystanders, according to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office. Witnesses at the gathering in the 36000 block of Stearns County Road 171 told deputies the 12-year-old was unloading a 20-gauge pump-style shotgun when the firearm discharged, causing birdshot pellets to ricochet off the gravel road and hit a 4-year-old, 9-year-old and 67-year-old.”

A KSTP-TV story says, “Two men have been sentenced to life in prison for the 2019 murder of Minneapolis realtor Monique Baugh. Cedric Berry was found guilty on three counts: kidnapping, first-degree attempted murder and first-degree murder. He was sentenced to a total of just over 33 years in prison on the first-degree attempted murder and kidnapping counts. However, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill told Berry he would be in prison for the remainder of his life on the first-degree murder charge, which will be served consecutively.”

Also in the Star Tribune, this from Jackie Crosby, “The Pohlad family’s automotive division is opening a Ferrari dealership in Golden Valley later this month, adding one of the most well-known luxury names to its fleet of premium car brands. The store, which will be called Twin Cities Performance, will be one of 45 Ferrari dealerships in the United States, and will sell new and pre-owned vehicles. … Curious motorists may have spotted the prancing horse Ferrari symbol along Interstate 394 in recent weeks. The 15,500-square-foot dealership is located in an existing facility Carousel Motor once used to do after-market installations.”

KSTP-TV reports: “Monday, Minnesota United announced its CEO, Chris Wright, will step down from his role with the organization at the end of the 2021 season. The club said a new CEO will be announced in the next month. Wright joined Minnesota United in the fall of 2017 after spending more than two decades in leadership positions with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx. … ‘This has been an amazing period in my own professional journey, as I started my career in soccer and have ended it helping build a club that I love, in a community that I love,’ Wright said.”

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