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Brooklyn Center introduces police reforms with new ‘citation and release’ policy

Plus: legislators inch toward agreement on bonuses for frontline COVID workers; authorities identify man fatally struck by squad car in Mounds View; Minneapolis’ last fur retailer to shut down for good; and more.

A police officer standing guard outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department.
A police officer standing guard outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department.
REUTERS/Nick Pfosi

Tim Harlow writes in the Star Tribune: “Brooklyn Center on Tuesday took its first step in reforming public safety by instructing police officers to release offenders they cite for low-level crimes and take them into custody only when the law requires them to do so. Under the new Citation and Release policy, officers can issue a citation for misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor offenses then let the person go. The policy also requires officers to attempt to de-escalate situations and try alternatives to avoid taking people into custody, and to document in writing all efforts taken before placing a person under arrest.”

Brian Bakst of MPR reports, “The [Front Line Worker Pay Working Group] was formed to recommend who should share in special pay from a $250 million fund. … Although they missed an early September deadline for finalizing a plan, the lead working group members say they’re zeroing in on agreement. DFL House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, who chairs the panel, said a rough outline would provide compensation for up to 670,000 critical workers who powered through amid uncertainty or worse. But the size of their bonuses still hasn’t been finalized.”

The Pioneer Press reports: “Students at the University of St. Thomas on Tuesday protested the appearance of stickers linked to a white nationalist group on their St. Paul campus, the university said. About 200 people turned out for the demonstration outside the Anderson Student Center, the day after the stickers showed up on doors and signs around campus, according to a post on the St. Thomas website. The stickers, which were first discovered Monday morning, were quickly removed, the university said.”

Elizabeth Schockman reports for MPR: “Most Minnesota schools are into their third full week of classes, but already some staff members are worried about how much longer they’ll be able to continue running short-staffed.… According to the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota, only slightly more than a quarter of Minnesota schools have a licensed nurse position. Those with positions are having a hard time filling them. In the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district where organization president Deb Mehr works, five nurses quit last year. This year they’ve already lost one.”

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WCCO-TV reports: “Authorities have identified the man who was fatally struck by a squad car last week after allegedly firing at law enforcement, as well as the deputy who hit the man. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man killed as 48-year-old Troy Engstrom. According to the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, Engstrom was a domestic assault suspect who allegedly fired a gun at the AmercInn in Mounds View around 10:40 a.m. Sept. 22. Responding officers found him on the 5200 block of Pinewood Court, where he allegedly raised a handgun and fired at approaching squad vehicles.”

For FOX 9, Paul Blume says, “Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has dismissed the murder charges against the suspected gunman in a deadly 2016 drive-by shooting of a 2-year-old boy in Minneapolis. Chris Welch, 36, was charged in 2019 with second-degree murder in the death of Le’Vonte ‘King’ Jones on July 8, 2016. Jones’ 15-month-old sister was injured in the shooting.… Welch’s trial was scheduled to start next week, but Freeman dismissed the charges against Welch because the state’s five key witnesses are no longer available to testify at trial. The witnesses are either dead, uncooperative, charged with murder themselves or cannot be found before Monday, according to the dismissal filed Tuesday.”

Dee DePass writes in the Star Tribune: “The landmark Ribnick Luxury Outerwear in North Loop has sold its building and will shut its fur coat store for good in December, ending a stunning 76-year run and bragging rights as the last surviving fur retailer in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The historic business at 224 North First St. in Minneapolis is the North Loop’s oldest retailer. … And now, after selling fur coats to business owners and such luminaries as Prince, Dolly Parton and Kirby Puckett, owner Bill Ribnick said it is time to also call it quits.”

The AP reports:South Dakota’s attorney general said Tuesday he is reviewing concerns from state lawmakers over a meeting Gov. Kristi Noem held last year that included both her daughter and a state employee who was overseeing her daughter’s application to become a certified real estate appraiser. … Though [Attorney General Jason] Ravnsborg and Noem are both Republicans, they have become political enemies over the last year after the governor pressured Ravnsborg to resign following a car crash in which he struck and killed a man walking on a highway.”