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Three former Minneapolis police officers found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights

Plus: Prior Lake girls basketball to forfeit rest of season after team member finds racist note; Minnesota House passes bonus plan for front-line workers; state Senate Republicans propose tax cuts; and more.

J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao
J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao
Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

In The New York Times, Tim Arango, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Jay Senter report, “Three former Minneapolis police officers were found guilty on Thursday of federal crimes for failing to intervene as another officer killed George Floyd by pressing his knee on his neck for more than nine minutes. The case was an extraordinarily  rare example of the Justice Department prosecuting officers for their inaction while another officer used excessive force. The verdicts signal to police departments across America that juries may become more willing to convict not just officers who kill people on the job, but also those who watch them do it.”

For the AP, Amy Forliti, Steve Karnowski and Tammy Webber write: “A jury of eight women and four men that appeared to be all-white reached the verdicts after about two days of deliberations. …The former officers remain free on bond pending sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled. Conviction of a federal civil rights violation that results in death is punishable by life in prison or even death, but such sentences are extremely rare. Federal sentencing guidelines rely on complicated formulas that indicate the officers would get much less. … Public reaction to Thursday’s verdicts was muted, with only a tiny handful of protesters visible outside the courthouse, which was surrounded by fencing throughout the trial.

KARE 11’s Samantha Fischer reports: “Prior Lake High School officials confirmed Thursday the girls basketball program will forfeit its last regular season game and the first round of the playoffs after a team member found a racist note in her basketball bag. In a message sent to families involved with the girls basketball program, the school’s administration and basketball coaching staff called the note ‘disgraceful and hurtful.’ According to school officials, a member of the girls basketball team found the racist note in her bag, which had been in the locker room. The school says it is interviewing members of the team, while also going through surveillance video to determine who wrote it.

Kristen Leigh Painter writes in the Star Tribune: “Minnesota’s multinational businesses with interests in Ukraine and Russia scrambled Thursday to connect with their people on the ground as war broke out. The threat of violence loomed over the region for weeks, but the scope and speed of the attack took many by surprise, forcing U.S. companies — including Medtronic, Ecolab and Cargill — to make fast decisions as the situation quickly deteriorated. …  Minnetonka-based Cargill has 500 employees in the country.”

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Tim Pugmire reports for MPR: “The Minnesota House passed a $1 billion plan Thursday to provide bonus payments to pandemic front-line workers, but DFL leaders still don’t have an agreement with Republican leaders in the state Senate about who should get the bonuses and how much each worker should get. The House vote was 71-61. The $1,500 payments in the House plan are intended for workers who were at risk of contracting COVID-19 while on the job during the peacetime emergency. The legislation identifies 15 employee categories, including health care workers, childcare providers, school employees, retail workers and more.”

FOX 9’s Theo Keith writes: “Minnesota Senate Republicans on Thursday proposed slashing the state’s lowest income tax rate nearly in half, which they said would be the biggest tax cut in Minnesota history. The bottom rate, which all filers pay for a portion of their income, would fall from 5.35 percent to 2.8 percent under the GOP proposal. The lowest rate applies to the first $28,050 of income for single filers and $41,050 for married couples. … Democrats criticized the plan because a broad rate cut would benefit wealthy Minnesotans. The DFL said the Legislature should use tax relief mechanisms that target low- and middle-income people.”

Also for MPR, Hannah Yang reports: “Mayo Clinic Health System is expanding its Mankato hospital by adding three new floors on top of its existing two-story building on the campus. The project features more than 100 additional hospital beds and other improvements including a three-floor vertical expansion atop the emergency department, cancer center and specialty clinic foyer; a new and expanded intensive care unit and progressive care unit; a new medical-surgical unit and a new family birth center.”

Sharyn Jackson and Joy Summers write in the Star Tribune: “Controversy brewed online Thursday over the recognition of a Minnesota restaurateur who was named a semifinalist Wednesday for a James Beard Foundation award. Kim Bartmann, owner of Bartmann Group, is a semifinalist in the category of Outstanding Restaurateur…. The owner of seven Minneapolis restaurants, Bartmann came under fire in 2020 after employees said she had laid off workers during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns without giving them their final paychecks. …The Bartmann Group reached a settlement in 2021 for more than $230,000, which included nearly $99,000 in back wages and more than $66,000 in overtime wages that Bartmann had already paid to employees.”