Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Kim Potter expected to testify Friday

Plus: Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson pleads guilty to driving while intoxicated; NWS confirms two tornadoes in Minnesota during Wednesday’s storm; Target Field getting new scoreboard; and more.

Prosecutor Erin Eldridge speaking during the trial against Kimberly Potter in a still image from video.
Prosecutor Erin Eldridge speaking during the trial against Kimberly Potter in a still image from video.
Pool via REUTERS

KARE-TV’s Alexandra Simon reports: “Kim Potter is expected to take the stand in her own defense on Friday, the eighth day of testimony in her trial for the shooting death of Daunte Wright in April 2021. Potter is charged with first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter in connection to Wright’s death during a traffic stop. The state rested its case Thursday morning after calling its final witness Wednesday afternoon. After Judge Regina Chu denied the defense’s motion for an acquittal, Potter’s team called its first witness.”

The Forum News Service reports: “Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson on Thursday pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated after getting into a drunken driving crash last week on Interstate 94 in western Minnesota. The top law enforcement official of Minnesota’s largest county, who publicly admitted to drinking before rolling his county-issued SUV on Dec. 8, faced four charges in connection to the crash, including carrying a pistol while under the influence. Hutchinson crashed around 2:30 a.m. about 5 miles east of Alexandria, where he was attending the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association winter conference the night before.”

FOX 9 reports: “The National Weather Service office in La Crosse, Wisconsin has determined at least two tornadoes occurred during Wednesday’s storm.  An EF0 tornado occurred near Lewiston, Minnesota and an EF2 tornado was confirmed north of Neillsville, Wisconsin, about 50 miles east of Eau Claire, according to NWS. The NWS office in the Twin Cities confirmed a tornado in Hartland, Minnesota after crews surveyed the damage Thursday. NWS survey crews are working to confirm whether any additional tornadoes occurred elsewhere in the two states.”

The Star Tribune’s Susan Du reports: “Young offenders are primarily responsible for the wave of armed carjackings in Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey and Deputy Police Chief Amelia Huffman said Thursday, laying out their response to one of the city’s most violent years on record. … Repeat offenders are responsible for 75% of robbery arrests, including carjackings, and they need to be held accountable, the mayor said. … Huffman, who will take over as interim chief next month, said police needed to study the data behind their list of repeat arrestees ‘in each individual set of circumstances and identify what those meaningful interventions are going to be.’”

Article continues after advertisement

KSTP-TV’s Ryan Raiche reports: “The state licensing board that oversees police officers voted Thursday to set up a special committee to review its policy on police chases. The move is a direct response to the pleas from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman following the deadly high-speed chase last summer that killed Leneal Frazier. Freeman charged the officer involved in October. ‘It’s time for Minnesota to take a bold step forward,’ Freeman told the Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training in Thursday’s virtual meeting. Freeman suggested that the board adopt a new model policy that limits chases only to extreme cases when an officer is trying to arrest someone who committed a violent felony.”

MPR’s Tim Pugmire reports: “Several Republican legislators criticize a proposal which could result in reduced prison time for some felons in Minnesota. Sen. Warren Limmer of Maple Grove, who chairs the Senate judiciary and public safety committee, told the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission Thursday that he was very concerned about the plan. … Supporters of the change say it would at least temporarily free up more than 500 prison beds. Rep. Anne Neu Brindley, R-North Branch, also raised concerns about the plan and said that Minnesotans simply don’t want the change.”

In the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: “Hmong College Prep Academy’s chief operating officer has joined his wife in resigning his job in the wake of the school’s $4.3 million loss from an illegal hedge fund investment. Pao ‘Paul’ Yang will leave at the end of the month with a $120,942 separation payout, according to a Dec. 5 letter from school lawyer Jim Martin to bondholders who are financing the school’s construction projects. … Yang’s wife, the school’s founder and longtime superintendent, Christianna Hang, is leaving at the same time with a previously announced $227,732 payout.”

Also from the Forum News Service, Maria Lockwood reports: “Charges were filed on Monday against a South Range, Wis., man for his alleged role in dismembering the body of a St. Paul man whose remains were found in Lake Superior in July. Robert Thomas West, 41, is facing felony charges of party to mutilating a corpse, harboring or aiding a felon and possession of a firearm by a felon. … Dive teams found the remains of Richard Balsimo Jr. of St. Paul on July 15-16 in cement-weighted buckets that had been dumped in Lake Superior near Grand Portage, Minn.”

The Star Tribune’s Rochelle Olson writes: The Minnesota Twins’ new scoreboard for the 2023 season at Target Field will be built in Redwood Falls by Daktronics as part of the most expensive update to the ballpark since it opened for the 2010 baseball season. The scoreboard is part of the second phase of a two-part, $29.5 million project, the cost of which is split evenly between the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority (MBA), the government agency that oversees the publicly owned building.”

For Bring Me The News, Joe Nelson says, “Monday will be a good day to tune in to ‘Jeopardy!’ as Minnesota Twins reporter Do-Hyoung Park will be a contestant.   It’s unclear when the episode was recorded, but Park announced Thursday that his episode will air on NBC this coming Monday. For folks in the Twin Cities, it’ll be televised on KARE 11 at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20.”

Article continues after advertisement