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Jury selection set to begin in trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter

Plus: St. Paul school board members propose scaling back school consolidation plan; Rep. Lauren Boebert refuses to publicly apologize to Omar for Islamophobic comments; Paige Bueckers becomes first college athlete to sign marketing deal with Gatorade; and more.

Kimberly A. Potter
Hennepin County Jail
Kimberly A. Potter
Chao Xiong writes in the Star Tribune: “The trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter, scheduled to begin Tuesday, could differ vastly from the trials of other officers who have killed civilians on the job. Potter, 49, is charged in Hennepin County District Court with first- and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Daunte Wright during an April 11 traffic stop, setting off several nights of protests. … Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday morning, with opening statements set for Dec. 8 and the trial projected to wrap up the last week of December. Wright’s shooting was captured on video, but some local attorneys not involved in the case said Potter’s defense could benefit from the footage, unlike in the case against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.”

In the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: “Defying warnings from administrators, St. Paul school board members have proposed a scaled-back plan for consolidating schools that removes its most controversial elements. The board still is set to vote Wednesday on Superintendent Joe Gothard’s ‘Envision SPPS,’ which would close eight schools next fall, displacing nearly 3,000 students. The idea is to create better economies of scale so that all schools can offer a ‘well-rounded education,’ with teacher specialists in the arts, science, gifted instruction and more. But parent feedback has been overwhelmingly negative in three of the schools set to close.”

The Forum News Service’s Alex Derosier writes: “While no cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus had been detected in the U.S. as of Monday afternoon, Minnesota health officials said they continue to monitor for the newly identified strain. In a statement, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the state has a system in place to detect new strains of the virus and will report if the omicron variant is detected. New variants are expected to occur, Malcolm said, adding that the best course of action anyone can take to protect themselves from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.”

In the Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Mariana Alfaro write: ”Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) refused to publicly apologize Monday in a phone call with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for her Islamaphobic comments about the Muslim congresswoman and instead accused her of ‘anti-American and anti-Semitic’ rhetoric, prompting Omar to end the call. The exchange spurred more calls for Republican leaders to condemn Boebert’s remarks and publicly address her behavior. Last week, House Democratic leaders denounced Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) ‘repeated failure to condemn inflammatory and bigoted rhetoric’ from fellow Republicans, including Boebert. In a statement Monday, Omar said that it is time for McCarthy ‘to actually hold his party accountable.’”

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Says The Star Tribune’s Andy Mannix, “A magistrate judge ruled Monday that four former Minneapolis police officers should stand trial together on federal civil rights charges related to the killing of George Floyd. Lawyers for J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao asked the court to sever Derek Chauvin from their upcoming trial, arguing Chauvin, who was convicted of second and third-degree murder and manslaughter in state court in April, would prejudice them to a jury.”

Tim Pugmire writes for MPR: ”Minnesota’s newly established Task Force on Missing and Murdered African American Women met Monday for the first time with a mission to advise the Commissioner of Public Safety and Minnesota Legislature on ways to reduce violence against African American women and girls by December 2022.  The 12-member panel includes representatives from the courts, law enforcement and victim advocacy groups. Rep. Ruth Richardson, DFL-Mendota Heights, the author of the legislation that created the panel, said it is the first task force in the nation to focus on violence against Black women. Richardson said the task force will look at many issues, including human trafficking, sexual exploitation and urban violence..”

At KSTP-TV, Eric Chaloux says, “A military medical response team made up of 23 U.S. Air Force doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists began seeing patients at St. Cloud’s CentraCare hospital over the weekend. It’s the second U.S. military team to help at a Minnesota hospital after Gov. Tim Walz requested federal assistance due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state. ‘Our [intensive care unit], 77% of the patients are there because of COVID’, said Dr. George Morris, incident commander for COVID-19 response at CentraCare. ‘We don’t have room for people with other critical care needs because of the critical needs of the COVID population.’”

In the Charlotte Observer, Hannah Lang reports, “Wells Fargo will now require employees to get vaccinated or consent to regular COVID-19 testing ahead of the bank’s return to in-person work next year, according to an internal memo. All workers, whether they have previously disclosed their vaccination status or not, will be required to report whether they have been fully vaccinated by Dec. 4, according to a memo from head of human resources Bei Ling that was distributed last week. Vaccinated employees will have to upload a photo of their CDC vaccination card. Employees that haven’t got their shot will need to acknowledge that they’ll be part of a regular testing program beginning next year.”

KARE 11’s Dana Thiede reports: “Star University of Connecticut women’s basketball player Paige Bueckers isn’t known for her love of finishing anywhere but the top. In just one year of college hoops the Minnesota native has won just about every award that’s out there, from the 2021 John Wooden award as the nation’s top female basketball player to AP Player of the Year. So it should come as no surprise that the one-time Hopkins High School phenom has notched another first: Bueckers is the first college athlete ever to sign a marketing deal with sports beverage giant Gatorade. She joins a star-studded marketing roster that includes tennis great Serena Williams, NBA upstart Zion Williamson and NFL quarterback and rising star Trevor Lawrence.”