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Attorneys for Kim Potter ask judge to dismiss first-degree manslaughter charge in Daunte Wright killing

Plus: Rep. John Thompson to serve in the Legislature as an independent; St. Paul City Council approves approves mayor’s proposed maximum property tax levy; FBI assisting local authorities in murder of four Minnesotans found in western Wisconsin; and more.

Kimberly A. Potter
Hennepin County Jail
Kimberly A. Potter
The AP reports: “Attorneys asked a judge Wednesday to dismiss a new manslaughter charge against the former suburban Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop this spring. Former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter says she mistakenly drew her firearm instead of her stun gun as Wright was trying to drive away from officers during the stop in April. Potter is recorded on body-camera video an instant after the shooting saying she drew the wrong weapon. Potter is white. Wright was Black. His death sparked several nights of protests. Prosecutors charged her with second-degree manslaughter. Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office later took over the case, added a count of first-degree manslaughter earlier this month. Potter is scheduled to stand trial in December.  The second-degree manslaughter charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison; first-degree has a maximum 15-year sentence.”

In the Pioneer Press, Bill Salisbury writes: “After Minnesota House Democrats voted Tuesday night to expel him from their caucus, state Rep. John Thompson of St. Paul announced Wednesday that he will continue to serve in the Legislature as an independent. ‘I will continue to serve on critical committees, author relevant legislation and co-sign onto bills that will be crafted to benefit our community,’ the first-term lawmaker from the city’s East Side wrote on Facebook. ‘The fact of the matter is there is still much work to be done. It is time to turn the page and move forward with the work.’ Thompson’s expulsion from the House DFL majority caucus strips him of access to the party’s staff and resources and means he won’t have much influence in the chamber, at least for now. But he still holds his office. Thompson has resisted repeated calls from House DFL leaders and other top Democrats, including Gov. Tim Walz, to resign from the Legislature.”

For FOX9, Mitti Hicks reports: “As more hospital ICU beds fill up in the metro, it’s having a ripple effect on patient care in rural hospitals. Rural healthcare staff say they are scrambling to get patients in critical care the help they need fast enough because the resources are just not there. … Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association said there’s one thing rural hospitals have in common across the country: the ability to transfer patients to larger city hospitals. He says rural hospitals have always lagged in adequate resources such as beds and staffing, but the recent surge in patients from the Delta variant are making things worse.”

The AP also reports: “A former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday for allegedly violating the civil rights of a teenager in a separate case that involved a restraint similar to the one used on Floyd. Derek Chauvin was convicted earlier this year on state charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s 2020 death. He was sentenced to 22 1/2 years. He’s also charged in federal court with violating Floyd’s civil rights when he knelt on the Black man’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes as Floyd was face-down on the pavement, not resisting and pleading for air.”

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MPR’s Brian Bakst reports: “A 124-year-old standard vesting Minnesota’s pardon power with unanimous rulings from a three-person board now rests with the state Supreme Court, which heard arguments Wednesday for leaving it as is or allowing split decisions. The ruling, which justices suggested would come soon, will determine if the governor needs to have the support of both the attorney general and the chief justice to erase a conviction from a person’s record. .… The high court is giving the pardon authority a fresh look after a lower court ruled the law to be unconstitutional because any of the three members of the pardon board has veto power. And the lawsuit that led to that ruling contends the governor has special authority, so his vote along with one other should carry the day.”

This from MPR, “Reports of COVID-19 in Minnesota schools are growing rapidly, and state public health officials believe those counts will accelerate in the coming weeks. Minnesota went from receiving reports of about 150 cases a day in schools last week — the first week of school for many districts — to more than 600 on Monday and 500 on Tuesday, Dr. Ruth Lynfield, the state’s epidemiologist, told reporters Wednesday.”

Frederick Melo writes in the Pioneer Press: “St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s 2022 budget proposal calls for a 6.9 percent increase to the city’s property tax levy, equivalent to about a $127 tax increase for a median-value home. That’s not a done deal, but that increase remains the maximum target. The St. Paul City Council on Wednesday approved the mayor’s proposed maximum property tax levy — the high-water mark for the amount of tax dollars that can be collected next year. The amount can still be adjusted down by the time the city budget is finalized in December. The final vote was 7-0, following some criticism of the mayor’s spending target.”

At The Daily Beast Allison Quinn writes, “The FBI has been called in to assist local authorities in rural Wisconsin after four young friends from Minnesota were found murdered and ‘randomly’ left in an abandoned SUV in a cornfield. Authorities in Dunn County, Wisconsin, where the quadruple homicide victims were discovered Sunday, have made no secret that they have been left baffled by the crime. … Police have not yet named any suspects or revealed details about a possible motive, with Bygd going so far as to admit on Tuesday that even the motive is [‘a mystery’ to investigators at this point. Authorities have, however, said they do not believe the quadruple homicide had any connection to drug activity or organized crime.”

Also in the Pioneer Press: “Just a couple of months after bringing home three medals from the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, St. Paul gymnast Sunisa Lee claimed another title Wednesday. Time magazine named the 18-year-old East Sider to its list of the world’s 100 most influential people, where she appeared as one of its ‘pioneers’ — one of the list’s six categories.”