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St. Paul woman sues Minneapolis after being shot in eye with ‘less-lethal’ round at protest last summer

Plus: Walz says state rep involved in traffic stop should ask for release of body camera footage; controversy embroils south Minneapolis’ Birchwood Cafe; wolf pups spotted on Isle Royale; and more.

Minneapolis police officers shown gathered around the Third Precinct during a protest on May 27.
REUTERS/Adam Bettcher
Minneapolis police officers shown gathered around the Third Precinct during a protest on May 27, 2020.
Another Minneapolis police suit. The Star Tribune’s Andy Mannix reports: “A St. Paul woman says she was protesting peacefully outside Minneapolis’ Third Precinct last summer when police shot her in the face with a projectile, causing permanent injury to her eye. … Two days after George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police, Ana Maria Gelhaye joined the crowds that had amassed outside the south Minneapolis station to protest police brutality. While Gelhaye livestreamed the protest on Facebook, an unknown police officer fired a 40-millimeter ‘less-lethal’ round at her face, according to a lawsuit she has filed in federal court. … The suit, which includes images captured on the livestream of Gelhaye’s bloody eye right after she was shot, alleges that police violated her constitutional rights, including First Amendment protections.”

More on Rep. John Thompson. The Pioneer Press’ Dave Orrick reports:Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says state Rep. John Thompson should allow police to release body camera footage of a traffic stop that has placed Thompson’s credibility under a spotlight. … ‘Yes,’ Walz said when asked directly by TV reporter Esme Murphy on WCCO Sunday Morning. ‘It’s Representative Thompson’s choice, but I’m a big believer … body camera footage should be released in all situations, not just where it exonerates the police or if it shows something the police did wrong.’ … After Thompson was pulled over earlier this month for a missing license plate — and then cited for driving while his Minnesota privileges were suspended — Thompson said the stop was racially motivated. Thompson offered no evidence, and the assertion was disputed by St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell, who said he reviewed body camera footage of the incident and said Thompson should apologize to the sergeant who stopped him.”

Well, that’s one kind of liberation. The Star Tribune’s Susan Du reports: “The Birchwood Cafe in south Minneapolis threw a Juneteenth block party this year to mark the holiday that recognizes the date enslaved people in Texas learned they were free. … Then, just days later, the well-known restaurant shut down, with most of its staff laid off and a fight spilling onto social media about racism, safety and the stresses staff faced during the pandemic and a year of racial reckoning. … Tracy Singleton, the owner, said her decision to shutter Birchwood comes as she considers reorganization options. Even before the Juneteenth party, she said she had been planning to lay everyone off after Father’s Day and invite them to reapply with a renewed commitment to anti-oppression and liberation.

Yes we Canis. The AP reports (via MPR):Wolf pups have been spotted again on Isle Royale, a hopeful sign in the effort to rebuild the predator species’ population at the U.S. national park, scientists said Monday. … It’s unknown how many gray wolves roam the island chain in northwestern Lake Superior. The coronavirus pandemic forced cancellation of the census that Michigan Technological University experts had conducted each winter for 63 years. … Remote cameras detected four pups on the park’s eastern end in January, the researchers said in a new report.”

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