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Minneapolis Council approves $350 million Upper Harbor Terminal project

Plus: prosecutors want longer sentence for Kim Potter if convicted of killing Daunte Wright; two Minneapolis officers recorded making derogatory comments about protesters have left MPD; Twins host a winter clothing drive to aid Afghan families; and more.

Matt McKinney writes for the Star Tribune: “A sweeping plan to convert a blighted industrial stretch of Mississippi River waterfront north of downtown Minneapolis into a 20-acre park ringed by affordable housing, a health center, an outdoor amphitheater and other amenities passed the City Council on Friday morning by a nearly unanimous vote. The stamp of approval marks a major pivot for the city’s waterfront and for the 48-acre Upper Harbor Terminal project, which after six years of planning and community discussions now moves into a construction and development phase that will see the McKinley and Webber-Camden neighborhoods grow east toward the river.”

For KARE-TV, David Griswold writes: “State prosecutors are planning to ask the courts to consider a longer potential sentence against former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter if she’s convicted in Daunte Wright’s death. If Potter is convicted of the most serious charge of first-degree manslaughter, under current guidelines, she would face between 6-8.5 years in prison. But if the the judge agrees with the state’s request for a stronger sentence, she could receive up to 15 years in prison. Potter is accused of shooting and killing Wright during a traffic stop in April.”

Jon Collins writes for MPR: “Longtime activists critical of police brutality Friday called for the immediate firing of Minneapolis police officers who can be seen on recently released body camera video indiscriminately firing so-called less-than-lethal weapons at protesters during the unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd by then-officer Derek Chauvin last spring.  Jaylani Hussein of CAIR-MN says the video just affirms the stories protesters told last May 2020. ‘Instead of bringing calm to our city, they terrorized protesters,’ he said. Hussein says he’d also like to see the city open an investigation into who oversaw the officers’ actions.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Rochelle Olson writes: “Minneapolis police Lt. Johnny Mercil and Cmdr. Bruce Folkens, who were both recorded on body cameras making derogatory comments about protesters during the unrest after George Floyd’s murder, have left the department, city officials confirmed Friday. Mercil, 49, left the department after May 4, according to Mayor Jacob Frey’s office. Folkens, 56, worked his final day July 31, said a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).… Frey’s office didn’t comment on the circumstances of either officer’s departure.”

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Nick Ferraro of the Pioneer Press writes: “Squad car video released by the Ramsey County sheriff’s office Friday shows Troy Allen Engstrom firing a gun once at a Mounds View police officer and once at a sheriff’s deputy before the deputy struck him with his squad Sept. 22 in Mounds View. Engstrom of Shoreview died later that night of multiple blunt-force injuries. The 48-year-old Shoreview man was a domestic assault suspect and had been accused of firing a gun in a nearby hotel earlier that day.”

MPR’s Hannah Yang writes: “The Minnesota Twins will host a winter clothing drive Saturday in Minneapolis to aid Afghan families currently housed at military bases. The event — from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Thomson Reuters Champions Club lot outside Target Field — is co-hosted by Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response nonprofit. Donations will go to refugees at Fort McCoy, Wis., and Camp Atterbury, Ind.”