North Minneapolis Democrat Says City Facing ‘Real Emergency’ Amid Ceaseless Violence

A north Minneapolis Democrat said his constituents are “facing a real emergency” as the city continues to experience alarming levels of gun violence.

“Every Minnesotan deserves to be safe in their own neighborhood, but right now many people are experiencing gun violence at unsustainable levels,” Rep. Fue Lee (DFL-Minneapolis) said in a statement released Saturday. “The neighborhoods I represent in north Minneapolis are facing a real emergency.”

Read More

Walz Calls Another Special Session, Says He Will Extend COVID-19 Emergency Powers

Gov. Tim Walz said he plans to extend his COVID-19 peacetime emergency declaration for another 30 days when lawmakers return to St. Paul Monday for a special session.

The governor announced Friday night that he has convened a special legislative session for July 13, the same day his peacetime emergency declaration is set to expire. According to Minnesota law, the governor must convene both houses of the Legislature if he wishes to extend a peacetime emergency when the Legislature is not in session.

Read More

DOJ Announces Twin Cities Violent Crimes Task Force In Response to ‘Extraordinary Spike’ in Violence

The Department of Justice announced the formation of a new Twin Cities Violent Crimes Task Force Wednesday in response to an “extraordinary spike in gun violence and violent crimes.”

Erica MacDonald, U.S. attorney for the District of Minnesota, said the task force will bring together federal and state resources to assist local law enforcement in investigating, arresting, and prosecuting individuals responsible for gun violence.

Read More

Three Sexual Assaults Reported at Minneapolis Homeless Encampment in Public Park

Police are investigating a string of sexual assaults at a homeless encampment in a Minneapolis park, according to various news reports.

Since June 26, Minneapolis Park Police have received three reports of sexual assault in Powderhorn Park, where more than 850 people have set up a 560-tent encampment, according to KARE 11. Two of the assaults involved juvenile victims.

Read More

Republican Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Sell Minnesota’s $6.9 Million COVID-19 Morgue

A Republican lawmaker has drafted a bill that would require Minnesota to sell a facility it purchased for the storage of deceased COVID-19 patients.

Due to a projected surge in COVID-19 fatalities, the state of Minnesota spent $6.9 million in May to acquire a warehouse for the “temporary storage of human remains.” As of early June, however, the facility had yet to be used.

Read More

Walz Expected to Call Another Special Session to Extend Emergency Powers

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to call another special session by the end of the week in order to extend his peacetime emergency powers.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) alerted members and staff in a Monday email about the likely special session.

Read More

Republicans Invoke Independence Day In Opposition to Walz’s Coronavirus Response

Gov. Tim Walz recently filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against him regarding his use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit was filed on May 28 by four members of the New House Republican Caucus, the Free Minnesota Coalition, and at least eight businesses across the state. The complaint argues that the governor does not have the authority to “suspend the constitutional rights of Minnesotans.”

Read More

Ilhan Omar Introduces Federal Job Guarantee Bill

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) introduced a bill last week that would create a “job guarantee program” at the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Workforce Promotion and Access Act, sponsored by Omar and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), seeks to get more Americans “back to work in living-wage jobs created directly by the federal government.”

Read More

Walz Asks Federal Government to Help Twin Cities Rebuild from $500M Worth of Rioting Damage

Gov. Tim Walz has requested federal financial assistance to help the Twin Cities recover from more than $500 million worth of damage caused by rioting.

In a press release, Walz’s office said nearly 1,500 Twin Cities businesses were vandalized, burned, or looted during the late May riots, with current estimates of the damage exceeding $500 million.

Read More

Three More Charged with Arson in Connection to Twin Cities Riots

Three more Minnesotans are facing federal arson charges in connection to the late May riots in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Both Matthew Scott White, 31, and Mohamed Hussein Abdi, 19, were arrested on June 29 and charged with one count of arson.

Read More

Walz Says Statewide Mask Mandate Is ‘On the Table’

Gov. Tim Walz said a statewide mask mandate to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is “on the table” during a Monday press conference.

According to Walz, Republican governors who participated in a Monday phone call with Vice President Mike Pence were also “exploring the idea.”

Read More

Minneapolis Council Members Who Want to Abolish Police Have Received $63,000 in Private Security

Minneapolis has spent $63,000 on private security for three council members who want to abolish the city’s police department.

Council Member Phillipe Cunningham confirmed the report in a statement released on Twitter Friday night.

Read More

Council Unanimously Approves Plan to Dismantle Minneapolis Police

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously approved a proposal to change the city charter to allow the police department to be dismantled, following widespread criticism of law enforcement over the killing of George Floyd.

Read More

State Senators to Hold Oversight Hearings on Handling of Minneapolis Riots, Ask DOJ to Investigate Police

Three Republican state senators called on U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and the Department of Justice to investigate the Minneapolis Police Department and its response to recent unrest in the city.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) announced plans to hold a series of legislative oversight hearings beginning July 1 on state and local responses to the riots.

Read More

Two Weeks Later, Investigation Into Toppling of Minnesota’s Christopher Columbus Statue Still Ongoing

It’s been two weeks since a Christopher Columbus statue was toppled outside the Minnesota Capitol, but the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said the investigation remains ongoing.

A spokesperson for the agency told KSTP chief political reporter Tom Hauser that the “investigation continues as the [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] works to identify other participants in the incident, beyond the leader.”

Read More

Minnesota Ends ‘Train Wreck’ Special Session With No Deal on Policing, Bonding Bill

Minnesota legislative leaders traded barbs Saturday after a special session collapsed with no deal on revamping policing following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a session that one group called “a train wreck.”

The two sides may be back at it in another special session next month.

Read More

Hennepin County Commissioners Want to Declare Racism a ‘Public Health Crisis’

Two Hennepin County commissioners plan to introduce a resolution this week that would declare racism a “public health crisis.”

Commissioner Angela Conley announced Friday that she will introduce the resolution with Commissioner Irene Fernando during Tuesday’s Board meeting.

Read More

Three More Charged in Minneapolis Arson Cases, ATF Offers $70K Reward for Additional Information

At least three more Minnesotans were charged this week for their involvement in the destruction of Minneapolis.

On Monday, U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald announced that 25-year-old Montez Terrill Lee of Rochester was charged with arson for starting a pawn shop on fire. According to a criminal complaint, surveillance video showed a masked man, later identified as Lee, pouring liquid from a metal container throughout the pawn shop on the night of May 28.

Read More

St. Paul Saints to Play Season in Sioux Falls for Now Because of ‘Capacity Restrictions’

The St. Paul Saints announced Friday that the team will be participating in a 60-game season beginning July 3, but all games will be played in Sioux Falls, South Dakota until “capacity restrictions for outdoor events have relaxed.”

The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball said the shortened season will run from July 3 to September 10, concluding with a championship series between the top two teams. The league will consist of six teams based in three separate hubs.

Read More

Resolution to End Walz’s Peacetime Emergency Fails to Pass, But Receives Bipartisan Support

Yet another resolution to end Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime emergency declaration was rejected Friday, but this time the proposal received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

The resolution passed the Republican-controlled Senate in a vote of 38-29, with three Democratic senators joining Republicans in voting to end the governor’s emergency powers, which first took effect March 13 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More

Edina Realty Fires Agent for Taking Down Black Lives Matter Signs Outside Apartment

Edina Realty fired one of its agents last week after she posted on Facebook about removing Black Lives Matter signs from light poles outside her apartment building.

The real estate agency was informed via a Facebook comment that Babette Gillet Bean, a longtime employee of the company, had “actively participated in the removal of BLM signs that have been posted in her neighborhood.”

Read More

DFL Lawmaker Wants Portrait of Lincoln Removed from Minnesota House Chamber

A DFL lawmaker revealed on Twitter this week that she’s “tried a bunch of times” to get a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln removed from the Minnesota House chamber.

State Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL-New Brighton) said it’s “hard to look at” House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) when she’s “standing in front of Lincoln.”

Read More

After Protesters Tear Down Columbus Statue, Minnesota Lt. Governor Welcomes Removal

The protesters and activists who tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus outside the Minnesota Capitol Wednesday faced virtually no resistance from state leaders or law enforcement.

In fact, after the statue was toppled over, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said Minnesota “is long overdue for a hard look at the symbols, statues, and icons that were created without the input of many of our communities.”

Read More

Two Hennepin County Commissioners Voted to Remove Medical Examiner Because of Floyd Autopsy Results

Two members of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday in favor of removing the county’s medical examiner because they didn’t like the results of his autopsy in the case of George Floyd.

Chief Medical Examiner Andrew Baker released a 20-page autopsy report last week with the permission of Floyd’s family and concluded that Floyd’s heart stopped while being restrained by officers. The report revealed that Floyd tested positive for the coronavirus, had fentanyl and meth in his blood, and had a number of underlying health conditions.

Read More

Minneapolis Council President Struggles to Explain Who Will Respond to Violent Crimes Without Police

Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender made several appearances on cable news programs Monday and was unable to articulate who would respond to violent crimes if her city’s police department is actually abolished.

Read More

Minnesota Hasn’t Used $6.9 Million Facility It Bought to Store Deceased Coronavirus Patients

Due to a projected surge in coronavirus fatalities, the state of Minnesota spent $6.9 million to acquire a warehouse for the “temporary storage of human remains,” but the facility has so far gone unused.

“What’s contemplated by the purchase is to buy a building where we can properly handle with dignity and respect and safety the bodies of Minnesotans who may fall victim to the coronavirus,” Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly said during a press conference in early May.

Read More

City of Minneapolis, State Patrol Sued for Attacks on Journalists During Riots

A class-action lawsuit was filed this week against the leaders of the Minneapolis Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for their “attacks” on journalists during last week’s riots.

“The press is under assault in our City. Over the past week, the Minneapolis Police and the Minnesota State Patrol have tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, shot in the face with rubber bullets, arrested without cause, and threatened journalists at gunpoint, all after these journalists identified themselves and were otherwise clearly engaged in their reporting duties,” states the lawsuit.

Read More

Walz Condemns House DFL Leader for Falsely Claiming Truck Driver at Center of 35W Incident Was ‘White Supremacist’

Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) falsely claimed that the truck driver at the center of Sunday’s frightening incident on I-35W was a “white supremacist.”

State officials said the driver, who has been identified as 35-year-old Bogdan Vechirko, might not have realized that the interstates had been shut down in an effort to quell unrest in the Twin Cities. Vechirko was arrested on suspicion of assault and remains jailed, but Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Monday that he didn’t seem to be acting intentionally.

Read More

Jail Records Contradict Claims That Most Rioters Are from Out of State

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, and Gov. Tim Walz all have suggested that many of the rioters wreaking havoc on the Twin Cities are from out of state, but jail records seem to show otherwise.

“We’ve seen long-term, institutional businesses overridden. We’ve seen community institutions set on fire. And I want to be very, very clear, the people that are doing this are not Minneapolis residents. They are coming in largely from outside of the city, from outside of the region, to prey on everything that we have built over the last several decades. The dynamic has changed over the last several days,” Frey said during a joint Saturday press conference.

Read More

A City in Ruins: Three Nights of Riots Leave South Minneapolis Looking Like War Zone

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – Three consecutive nights of rioting in response to the alleged murder of an unarmed black man at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer have left stretches of the city in ruins, producing scenes most accurately described as a war zone.

Officer Derek Chauvin, the man filmed pressing his knee into the neck of a handcuffed George Floyd, was arrested Friday on charges of murder and manslaughter. He and three colleagues involved in the incident were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department Tuesday.

Read More

Minnesota to ‘Allow’ Churches to Reopen After Faith Leaders Defy Governor’s Orders

Gov. Tim Walz announced Saturday that he would lift his restrictions on religious services and allow all places of worship to open for larger groups beginning Wednesday.

Read More

Minnesota State Fair Canceled for First Time in More Than 70 Years

The general manager of the Minnesota State Fair announced Friday morning that the annual gathering will be canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve been working hard and doing our very best with preparations for the 2020 State Fair. The picture was cloudy in March, but things have cleared up considerably since then. Right now is the time of year when things need to really take off if we’re going to have a fair, but we can see that we’re out of runway and can’t get off the ground. There will be no State Fair this year,” General Manager Jerry Hammer said in a statement.

Read More

After Backing Alleged Domestic Abuser Keith Ellison, Minnesota Dems Say State Rep Is ‘Trivializing’ Domestic Abuse

The Minnesota DFL Party, which supported accused domestic abuser Keith Ellison in his run for attorney general, criticized a Republican lawmaker Thursday for “trivializing the severity of domestic abuse.”

Read More

Bonfire Restaurants Latest COVID Casualty, Announces Permanent Closure of All Locations

Bonfire Restaurants announced Friday that it will permanently close all five of its Minnesota locations because of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said in a statement that its locations in Blaine, Eagan, Mankato, Savage, and Woodbury will not be reopening.

Read More

Minnesota Senate Bill Would Require Governor to Seek Legislative Approval for Extending Future Peacetime Emergencies

The Minnesota Senate passed a bill last week that would require the governor to obtain legislative approval before extending any future peacetime emergencies.

The bill, authored by Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound), passed Friday in a vote of 36-31, but failed to advance in the DFL-controlled House before the legislative session expired Sunday night.

Read More

Star Tribune Accepts $150,000 Grant from Facebook

The Star Tribune accepted $150,000 in grant money from Facebook, the tech giant revealed Thursday.

According to a press release from Facebook, the company awarded $10.3 million to 144 local U.S. newsrooms as part of a “COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program.” Another $5.4 million was awarded to 59 North American newsrooms that participated in Facebook’s “Local News Accelerator” program, including The Star Tribune.

Read More

Republicans Move to Suspend Walz’s Six-Figure Salary Until Shutdown Ends

A Republican lawmaker put forward an amendment Thursday that would suspend Gov. Tim Walz’s salary during the course of his peacetime emergency declaration.

The move is the latest escalation in a battle between Republican and Democratic lawmakers over the best course of action in addressing the coronavirus pandemic. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) announced last weekend that he would block a public works bill from being passed until Walz agreed to relinquish his emergency powers.

Read More

Minnesota County With Highest Unemployment Rate Has Zero COVID-19 Cases

More than 600,000 Minnesotans have filed for unemployment since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the state has had 633,405 applications for unemployment insurance since March 16. That number represents a little more than 20 percent of the state’s workforce, Fox 9 reported Wednesday.

Read More

House Republicans Will Block Major Legislation Until Walz Ends Peacetime Emergency

The leader of the Minnesota House Republicans said Saturday that his caucus will block a bonding bill from being passed while the governor’s emergency powers remain in effect.

Republicans have made three unsuccessful attempts to end Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime emergency declared in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The emergency declaration expires May 13 but can be extended for an additional 30 days. Walz has already extended the peacetime emergency once.

Read More

Vice President Pence Addresses Criticism for Not Wearing Mask at Mayo

Vice President Mike Pence visited the world-renowned Mayo Clinic Tuesday to discuss its fight against the coronavirus, but the media obsessed over the fact that he wasn’t wearing a mask.

Read More

Organization Claims Minnesota Legislative Committees Meeting in Small Groups to Avoid Open Meetings Law

ACLU Minnesota John Gordon

A legal organization said members of the Minnesota Legislature are holding committee meetings in small groups in order to avoid triggering the state’s “Open Meeting Law.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota said legislators have been deliberately meeting in small groups so they can bypass the law, which generally requires that all meetings be open to the public.

Read More

Minnesota’s State and National Dems Want to Cancel Rent and Mortgage Payments

  An executive order from Gov. Tim Walz bans evictions, foreclosures, and lease terminations for the duration of the state’s peacetime emergency, but one Democratic lawmaker wants to take things a step further. State Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis) recently called for a “rent and mortgage moratorium” in Minnesota, an idea…

Read More

70 Percent of COVID-19 Deaths in Minnesota Associated with Nursing Homes

Health officials revealed during a Tuesday press conference that nursing home residents account for slightly more than 70 percent of all COVID-19-related deaths in Minnesota.

Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann said during a Tuesday press briefing that 113 of the state’s 160 deaths “are associated with long-term care.”

Read More

Lawmaker Says Walz Leaving Fate of Minnesota’s Economy in Hands of Multi-State Pact

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday that he has joined a seven-state compact that will work in “close coordination” on plans to “reopen the economy in the Midwest region.”

Read More