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Family of Winston Smith calls for independent investigation into killing

Plus: U.S. Marshals now wearing body cameras in Minnesota; Minnesota National Guard to help alleviate staffing shortages at long-term care facilities; Afton man faces charges over backyard runway; Wild win opening game of season; and more.

The Star Tribune’s Maya Rao reports: “An attorney for the family of Winston Smith on Friday called for an independent investigation into his killing by a U.S. Marshals Service task force, pointing out that officers at the scene were never interviewed as part of the state’s investigation. The officers submitted only written statements giving their accounts of the June 3 shooting to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), the attorney said, claiming the state’s investigation was flawed. Those statements helped provide the basis of Crow Wing County Attorney Donald Ryan’s decision this month not to criminally charge the officers for Smith’s death. … Members of Smith’s family and activists said they remain unconvinced that the state has fully probed the matter.”

Related. For WCCO-TV, Jennifer Mayerle reports: “U.S. Marshals are now wearing body cameras in Minnesota, WCCO-TV has learned. The call for change came after the shooting of Winston Smith in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood in June. The deadly confrontation sparked protests and raised questions about accountability. At the time of the killing, U.S. Marshal task force deputies were prohibited from wearing body cameras. After Smith’s death, the U.S. Department of Justice changed its policy.”

For the AP, Steve Karnowski writes: “Gov. Tim Walz said Friday he’ll use the Minnesota National Guard to help alleviate staffing shortages at care facilities that are struggling to cope with the surge in COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated Minnesotans. … The governor went to North Memorial Health Hospital to announce plans for relieving overstretched staffs at long-term care facilities that prevent hospitals from discharging patients into transitional care centers. … Walz said the number of soldiers who will provide that relief and their exact roles have yet to be determined, but said it would be a ‘fairly large contingent.’”

In the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes: “Nearly a year after the first seniors in Minnesota began receiving COVID vaccines, many of the state’s elderly residents have yet to visit with friends and family — especially unvaccinated grandkids — or venture back to public spaces and resume their pre-pandemic exercise routine, raising concerns with experts about health dangers associated with isolation and depression. … Those are the findings of two new studies published by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, which surveyed seniors statewide this summer, and AARP Minnesota, which maintains a COVID-19 dashboard that tracks federally-reported COVID data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on a monthly basis.”

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KSTP-TV’s Brett Hoffland says: “A new, major Metro Transit center is set to open in Minneapolis on Monday. It’s part of the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s broader Interstate 35W at 94 Downtown to Crosstown Project that wrapped up last month. The new station is at Lake Street, right below I-35W. Officials say this is a big upgrade.”

Also from WCCO-TV: “A Twin Cities man is facing charges after allegedly carving a runway into a field behind his home and using it as a private airport. Jeffrey Walker, 57, of Afton, is charged with five misdemeanor counts for violating city restrictions for airstrips, takeoffs and landings, court documents filed this week in Washington County show. According to the documents, multiple people in the area complained after observing Walker and/or other pilots landing or taking off in airplanes on his property, which is located in rural Afton.”

In the Star Tribune, Sarah McLellan writes: “Marcus Foligno sat in the penalty box longer than he played on the ice, but he still changed the game. After a lengthy absence from a first-period confrontation, Foligno’s return flipped the momentum to the Wild’s side and he put the finishing touches on a comeback by scoring with 7.2 seconds to go to seal a 2-1 win over the Ducks on Friday night at Honda Center and open the season in memorable fashion.”