As Chauvin Trial Nears End, Minneapolis Passes Resolution Opposing Use of Non-Lethal Weapons

In a near-unanimous vote, the Minneapolis City Council passed a last-minute resolution Friday to condemn the use of non-lethal weapons such as tear gas and rubber bullets.

This comes as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial in the death of George Floyd nears a verdict.

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Chauvin Avoids Testifying, Defense Rests in Dramatic Final Day of Murder Trial

Derek Chauvin

In dramatic final day of Derek Chauvin’s trial for second and third degree murder of George Floyd, Chauvin invoked his Fifth Amendment right remain silent during his own trial. 

After a series of questions and answers between Chauvin and his attorney Eric Nelson, confirming for the court’s record that Chauvin understood his Fifth Amendment rights, and was exercising them on his own accord, the former Minneapolis Police officer decided he would not take the stand.

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Facts in Daunte Wright Shooting Bust Original Narrative

As facts about the deadly shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center come to light, the original narrative about the pretext for his encounter with police officers has been proven false.

Immediately after body camera footage surfaced online showing former Brooklyn Center Police officer Kimberly Potter shooting Wright, rumors swirled online that Wright was pulled over because he had an air freshener hanging from his rear view mirror.

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Officer Involved in Daunte Wright Shooting Charged with Second Degree Manslaughter

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced Wednesday that the police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center will be charged with second degree manslaughter.

Kimberly Potter resigned from her post Tuesday after she shot and killed Wright during a struggle Sunday. She worked as a police officer for 26 years.

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Minnesota Republicans to Pitch Plan to Spend Federal Stimulus Money on Hard-Hit Industries, Unemployment Fund, and Infrastructure

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Sen. Zach Duckworth

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, and Sen. Zach Duckworth, R-Lakeville, on Friday announced a package aiming to spend billions of federal dollars on hard-hit industries, filling the unemployment fund, and infrastructure plans.

“These one-time funds provide us with the chance to set Minnesotans on a path for long-lasting growth. By targeting our spending for maximum impact, we are setting Minnesotans up to rebuild their community connections, invest in their families, and help our businesses recover and grow.” Duckworth said in a statement. “Most importantly, these investments are being made without increasing taxes on Minnesotans who have already sacrificed so much in the last year.”

The bill language, expected to be released next week, seeks to direct $2.5 billion of the American Rescue Plan to Minnesotans hardest hit by the pandemic and promote economic growth, according to a press release.

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BLM Activists Block Traffic Outside Courthouse, Force People to Honk: ‘We’re Not Gonna Let You Through’

Black Lives Matter protesters have reportedly blocked traffic outside the Hennepin County Government Center and forced people to honk their horns “for justice.”
Black Lives Matter protesters stand in the street. Twitter/Alex Belser

Beginning on the first day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, BLM activists took to the streets to demand “honks for justice” from passing cars, as seen in a Fox News video.

When drivers refused to honk their horns, protesters prevented those cars from passing through.

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State’s Expert Witness Says Fentanyl Did Not Kill Floyd

According to a doctor called by prosecutors to testify in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, the potentially fatal levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine in George Floyd’s body at the time of his arrest were not the cause of his death.

Dr. Martin Tobin of Chicago said a “low-level of oxygen” caused by Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground during his arrest “caused damage to his brain that we see, and it also caused a PEA arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop.”

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‘I Ate Too Many Drugs:’ Focus in Chauvin Trial Turns to Floyd Statement During Arrest

The trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin focused Wednesday on a statement made by George Floyd during his arrest, which sparked disagreement between state prosecutors and Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney. 

“Did you hear Mr. Floyd say, ‘I ate too many drugs,’” Nelson asked Special Agent James Reyerson, who was called as a witness by the prosecution. 

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Ilhan Omar Blasts Biden After Reports of Continued Construction on Border Wall

After reports surfaced Tuesday that the Biden administration was planning to continue construction on former president Donald Trump’s border wall, a Minnesota congresswoman took to Twitter to voice her displeasure. 

“It’s shameful and unacceptable for [President Biden] to continue the construction of Trump’s xenophobic and racist wall,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) said.

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Minnesota City Tries to Force Business Owner to Remove Trump Flag

The city of Buffalo is trying to force one business owner to stop flying his “Trump 2020” flag, saying that the flag violates a city ordinance. 

But Jay Johnson, who is flying the 50 feet by 30 feet flag from a crane at his construction business, says he’s not budging. 

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BLM Activist Threatens Riots if Chauvin Is Not Convicted

Using her social media, a Black Lives Matter activist promised riots if former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin is not convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd. 

“If George Floyd’s murderer is not sentenced, just know that all hell is gonna break loose,” Maya Echols said on her TikTok account. “Don’t be surprised when buildings are on fire. Just sayin’.” 

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Bill Aims to Ban Minnesota Vaccine Passports

Senator Michelle Benson

As Minnesota returns to a semblance of normalcy with an increasing number of injected COVID-19 vaccines, one Republican aims to ban “vaccine passports.”

 SF 1589 aims to ban forced COVID-19 vaccinations, forced digital contact tracing, and required proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering a government business.

“Your personal health information should not be made public. I stand against the special interests that want your private health information,” Senate Health Committee Chair Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, posted on Facebook.

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Defense Counsel Casts Doubt on Placement of Chauvin’s Knee

Derek Chauvin

One of the most highly-anticipated moments of ex-cop Derek Chauvin’s trial came Monday when Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo took the stand for the state.

Chauvin’s former boss testified at length on the Minneapolis Police Department’s training protocols, use of force and de-escalation policies, and his work history in the department.

“The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible. So you want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force,” Arradondo said.

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Great Lakes Governors Call on Biden to Support Critical Water Infrastructure

Four Great Lakes governors on Tuesday urged President Joe Biden to prioritize federal investments in water infrastructure.

In a letter sent to Biden, the governors lauded the American Rescue Plan Act’s $360 billion in direct aid to state and local governments that can be spent on water and sewer infrastructure.

“As your administration continues to develop and pursue its policy agenda, we respectfully encourage you to continue your emphasis on modernizing America’s water infrastructure,” readsthe letter.

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Minnesota Senate OKs COVID-19 Learning Loss Recovery Bills

Roger Chamberlain and Chuck Wige

The GOP-led Minnesota Senate recently approved several bills that aim to support families and teachers in recovering from learning loss suffered during COVID-19-related school closures.

Senate File 628 seeks to require the Department of Education to administer in-person statewide Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments during the spring of 2021, regardless of the current learning format. MCAs measure student progress in core academic subjects and were canceled last year.

“At this point, we are all familiar with the pain and hardship that school closures have caused students,” Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, said in a statement. “The Senate is taking the smart steps necessary to help students catch their breath and recover from some of the worst side effects of COVID.”

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Chauvin Attorney Destroys Narrative That Floyd Called for Mother Before His Death, Media Ignores

Towards the end of his questioning of George Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross, Eric Nelson, the attorney for former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, uncovered a bombshell that has been left out of mainstream media coverage. 

“You and Floyd – Mr. Floyd, excuse me – I’m assuming, like most couples, had pet names for each other?” Nelson asked Ross. 

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Lucero Bill Would Protect Religious Freedom After Minnesota Gov. Walz ‘Blatantly Violated’ Constitutional Protections

A Republican representative introduced a bill last week to provide legal protections to churches during states of emergency.

Under HF 2422, authored by Rep. Eric Lucero, R-Dayton, health boards, whether at the state or local level, would not be allowed to impose restrictions upon religious organizations during a declared emergency.

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Minnesota WNBA Coach Comes Out in Favor of Trans Athletes

The general manager and head coach of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx came out in favor of male athletes participating in female sports Wednesday, publishing an opinion piece in Sports Illustrated explaining her position. 

“Proud to lend my voice and support for transgender inclusion,” Cheryl Reeve said on Twitter, attaching her opinion piece.

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Minnesota Audit Finds Impropriety, Violated Rules in Department of Human Services

The Office of The Legislative Auditor released an audit Monday finding the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Behavioral Health Division (BHD) had inadequate internal controls and violated safeguards to prevent fraud and abuse.

“Since the creation of the Behavioral Health Division in early 2018, DHS did not analyze the risks of fraud, waste, abuse, and noncompliance with legal requirements related to oversight of BHD grants,” auditors wrote.

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‘Normalcy is on the Horizon’ Gov. Walz Touts COVID-19 Recovery in State of State Address

Gov. Tim Walz

“Normalcy is on the horizon,” Gov. Tim Walz told Minnesotans in his 2021 State of the State speech.

Walz delivered his speech Sunday night from his old Mankato classroom.

The state is recovering quickly from the global pandemic, he said, with 80% of seniors having a single vaccine dose and two-thirds of school personnel vaccinated. Starting Tuesday, he said, all Minnesotans ages 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Crime Remains a Problem on Light Rail Despite Huge Drop in Ridership

Metro Transit’s light rail lost more than half of its riders in 2020, but crime continued to flourish on the empty trains, according to documents obtained by Alpha News.

Light rail saw a decrease in ridership of 59% last year, largely due to an upsurge in telecommuters who no longer travel for work because of COVID-19.

Despite the diminishing ridership numbers, crime continued to ravage the passenger rail and its stations in 2020. Adjusting for 2020’s abnormally large decrease in ridership shows that the crime rate actually increased significantly in 2020.

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Minnesota Bipartisan Bill Aims to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs

A bipartisan bill claims it would reduce the cost of prescription drug costs to save taxpayers a potential millions – if not billions – of dollars.

Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, held a Friday news conference with Rep. Mike Howard, D-Richfield, highlighting the bill

SF 2178 would allow the state to share bid information submitted by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) for public employee contracts. The reverse auction process incentivizes PBMs to compete against each other by submitting lower offers in bidding rounds to win a contract, which is meant to achieve cost savings without impacting the quality of state health benefit plans.

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Attorneys Present Opening Arguments in Chauvin Trial

A state prosecutor and the defense attorney for former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin presented their opening arguments in Chauvin’s murder trial Monday morning.

Chauvin is accused of killing George Floyd during an arrest in May of last year. The trial is being live-streamed from inside the courtroom. 

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Minnesota Senator Seeks to Hold State Cosmetology Board Accountable for Past Debacles

Hair Cut at Hair Salon

A Minnesota senator presented a bill Monday that would disband the Board of Cosmetology and transfer control over the industry to the Department of Health.

Sen. Karin Housley, R-Stillwater, said the Board of Cosmetology has been accused of gross mismanagement and involved in two civil rights lawsuits in past years.

Her bill, S.F. 691, would transfer the Board of Cosmetology’s jurisdiction over licensing requirements to the Department of Health. The states of Vermont and Colorado have both decided to move licensing and regulatory authority from specific cosmetology boards to state agencies as well.

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Minnesota Supreme Court Makes Controversial Rape Decision

The Minnesota Supreme Court earlier this week made a controversial ruling on a case involving a convicted rapist, ordering a new trial on the grounds that the woman involved in the incident voluntarily intoxicated herself prior to the sexual encounter. 

Francois Khalil was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a victim who was impaired in 2019, stemming from an incident in 2017. The woman involved in the case said the two had been partying when she blacked out, and woke up to Khalil raping her. He was sentenced to five years in prison by a jury in Hennepin County. 

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Backs Bill to Give Progressive Groups Influence over Hate Crimes Data, Police Training

Gov. Tim Walz expressed his support for a bill that would give progressive organizations influence over the state’s collection of data on “crimes motivated by bias” and police training standards for responding to those crimes.

“Words matter. It, to me, is stunning that we would not hold hearings in the Minnesota Senate to debate this bill that simply does the obvious, that makes it a crime to discriminate against a neighbor for any reason of who they are or their origin or their religious preferences or you name it,” Walz said at a Tuesday press conference on the bill.

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Jury Selected in Chauvin Trial, Opening Arguments Set to Begin

Opening arguments are set to begin Monday in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officers Derek Chauvin, accused of killing George Floyd, after weeks of jury selection. 

The jury selection process in the high-profile trail was marred with controversy after the city of Minneapolis awarded Floyd’s family $27 million to settle a civil lawsuit during the criminal proceedings. 

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92-Year-Old Sues Hennepin County After It Kept $25,000 of Home Equity After Foreclosure

foreclosure_840x480

A 92-year-old is fighting in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals for $25,000 of lost equity in her former Minneapolis condo after Hennepin County seized and sold it to settle a $15,000 tax debt and kept the difference.

Geraldine Tyler moved out of her Minneapolis condo in 2010 because of rising crime but couldn’t pay both her condo’s property taxes and rent on her new apartment.

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Minnesota Democrats Respond to ‘Incredibly Harmful’ Voter ID Bill, Call for Permanent Mail-in Voting

Minnesota Senate Democrats announced a sweeping elections platform Monday and attacked their Republican colleagues for introducing “incredibly harmful” voter ID legislation.

“Over the past year, we watched as Republican leaders across the country and here in Minnesota helped spread the big lie that our elections are not fair,” Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, said at a Monday press conference, accusing Republicans of participating in a “voter suppression” campaign.

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Using Boulder Tragedy, Klobuchar Promises Action on Gun Control

The morning after a mass shooting that left 10 dead in Colorado, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is using the tragedy to push a left-wing gun control agenda. 

“Since we announced a hearing on gun safety, there have been two mass shootings. That doesn’t include the hundreds affected by gun violence every day. Thoughts & prayers aren’t enough. We need to act & it starts with a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing I’m heading to right now,” Klobuchar said Tuesday morning on Twitter

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Insurance Company Drops $5 Million for University of Minnesota’s Anti-Racist Health Center

The University of Minnesota is mobilizing a $5 million donation to launch an antiracist health center.

According to a February 24 announcement from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, the “Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity” is dedicated to “addressing and uprooting structural racism’s impact on health and healthcare.”

The center will “develop education and training on structural racism and health inequities,” “foster authentic community engagement to address the root causes of racial health inequities and drive action,” “change the narrative about race and racism to one that does not hold up whiteness as the ideal standard for human beings,” and “serve as a trusted resource on issues related to racism and health equity.” 

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Minnesota House Bill Would Spend $475 Million to ‘End Systemic Racism’

A newly proposed bill in the Minnesota House would provide nearly half a billion dollars to state officials to settle perceived racial inequities. 

HF 784 is a massive spending bill written for the purpose of “appropriating money directed at ending systemic racism [and] adopting provisions that address racial injustice and systemic racism.”

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Father of Man Shot by Police Calls for ‘Destroying The System’ at BLM Protest

The father of a man who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police in December called for “destroying the system” at a Black Lives Matter protest Friday in St. Paul.

“There is something I would like to say today: police, it’s not only the police who kill our people. It is the system. It’s the system. This whole system, it is sucking our blood,” said the father of Dolal Idd, who died of multiple gunshot wounds after firing a weapon at police.

Both Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Idd fired at officers first, which was seemingly corroborated by body camera footage from the incident.

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Minnesota Rep. Introduces Bill That Would Imprison Governor for Unilaterally Declaring Emergencies

Rep. Erik Mortensen, R-Shakopee, introduced a bill that would take away the governor’s power to unilaterally declare a peacetime emergency or to issue executive orders that are treated as law.

The Unilateral Emergency Powers Repeal Act, HF 2204, would require a two-thirds majority vote from the House and Senate to declare a peacetime emergency.

In an email, Mortensen said, “By unilaterally declaring emergency powers, Walz completely eradicated our republican form of government and started becoming the supreme lawmaker of the land.” This bill would take away that ability.

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Judge Won’t Delay or Move Chauvin Trial, Despite $27 Million Civil Settlement with Floyd Family

Derek Chauvin

Despite a $27 million civil settlement between the city of Minneapolis and the family of George Floyd, the judge in the high-profile trial of ex-Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin will continue as scheduled. 

“Unfortunately, the pretrial publicity will continue no matter how long we continue [the trial],” Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said Friday. 

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Michigan County Experimenting with Social Distancing Guidelines in Schools

After a damning New York Times report in which a Virginia Tech virologist said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) six-foot social distancing guidelines appeared to be pulled out of “thin air,” one Michigan county is experimenting with three feet of social distancing in schools.

“The Kent County Health Department is in the middle of a study that officials hope will reduce the social distance requirements in all pre-k through 8th grade classrooms,” a WZZM report said. “During the six-week pilot study, any student that has been within three feet of a COVID-positive student for 15 minutes or more — within 48 hours — must quarantine at home for 10 days. Before that, quarantine was triggered at a distance of six feet.”

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Chauvin Lawyer Requests to Move Trial from Hennepin County

Earlier this week, the attorney for Derek Chauvin requested that the ex-Minneapolis Police officer’s trial be moved from Hennepin County due to the risk of a prejudiced jury. 

“You have elected officials — the governor, the mayor — making incredibly prejudicial statements about my client, this case,” Eric Nelson told Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill. “You have the city settling a civil lawsuit for a record amount of money. And the pre-trial publicity is just so concerning.”

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Police Group Urges Minneapolis Leaders to Take Action on Autonomous Zone

The National Police Association (NPA) is calling on the city of Minneapolis to attend to its residents who live in or near the “autonomous zone” located at George Floyd Square.

“What the neighbors are saying, in the residential area, is that after darkness falls, criminals are using it to freely commit crimes, deal drugs, things like that, and they’re extremely frustrated,” NPA spokeswoman Betsy Brantner Smith, a retired sergeant, said in an interview with Fox News.

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Judge in Chauvin Trial Threatens to Boot Media for ‘Irresponsible’ Reporting

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the high-profile trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, had strong words for the members of the media inside his courtroom Wednesday. 

“It’s been brought to the court’s attention that the media has been reporting specific details trying to look at counsels’ – the documents, computers, post-it notes – on counsel tables,” Cahill said. “That’s absolutely inappropriate. Any media who are in this room will refrain from even attempting to look at what is on counsel tables, either for the state or for the defense.”

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Minnesota Counts COVID Cases in Schools Without Confirming Infection or Source

The Minnesota Department of Health admits that its official tally of coronavirus cases associated with schools includes cases where no positive test was recorded and “cases where the exposure setting was not confirmed.”

For one year, as of this week, Gov. Tim Walz has imposed restrictions or closures on Minnesota public schools, claiming that such measures are informed by careful scientific study. However, an examination of the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) weekly coronavirus reports raises some serious questions about the accuracy of the numbers the state has used to justify school closures.

Rather than tabulating the number of COVID-19 cases that have definitely originated in schools, the MDH reports on “cases associated with pre-K through grade 12 school buildings.”

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Chauvin Defense Seeks to Pause Jury Selection After Floyd Family Civil Settlement

Derek Chauvin

After the family of George Floyd received a $27 million settlement Friday from the city of Minneapolis stemming from his death in police custody, the attorney for the police officer charged in Floyd’s death is asking for a continuance in the jury selection process. 

“Defense attorney Eric Nelson expressed deep concern that jurors already chosen and those yet to be chosen will be prejudiced should they learn of the settlement, thereby denying his client his right to a fair trial,” The Star Tribune reported. 

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University of Minnesota Pays Former Obama Task Force Member $25k Per Month for ‘Consulting’

The University of Minnesota paid a consulting firm headed by a former Obama task force member $25,000 per month for a “comprehensive review” of the school’s police force, according to documents obtained exclusively by Campus Reform.

Cedric Alexander’s consulting firm, CL Alexander Consulting, was hired by the University of Minnesota on August 12, 2020, after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

According to a university spokesperson, the contract was in effect until early February, meaning that the University of Minnesota spent at least $134,000 on the police review.

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University of Minnesota Pays Former Obama Task Force Member $25k Per Month for ‘Consulting’

The University of Minnesota paid a consulting firm headed by a former Obama task force member $25,000 per month for a “comprehensive review” of the school’s police force, according to documents obtained exclusively by Campus Reform.

Cedric Alexander’s consulting firm, CL Alexander Consulting, was hired by the University of Minnesota on August 12, 2020, after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

According to a university spokesperson, the contract was in effect until early February, meaning that the University of Minnesota spent at least $134,000 on the police review.

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Minneapolis to Pay Record $27 Million in George Floyd’s Wrongful Death Settlement

The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to settle George Floyd’s wrongful death lawsuit for a record $27 million. 

The settlement was announced on Friday.

In a viral May 2020 video, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, causing police brutality protests worldwide. Floyd died later that night. By the end of the week, the three officers involved were fired. 

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Walz Hits Goal of 70 Percent Seniors Getting First COVID-19 Vaccination, Expands Eligibility to 1.8 Million Minnesotans

On Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz announced Minnesota is expanding vaccine eligibility after reaching its goal of vaccinating 70% of Minnesotan’s seniors.

The state will expand eligibility to the next two phases of Minnesotans, starting Wednesday.

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Reporters Barred from Deadly ‘George Floyd’ Autonomous Zone in Minneapolis

Protestors have quietly set up an “autonomous zone” near the George Floyd memorial in Minneapolis, according to one reporter who visited the scene. 

“The George Floyd memorial is an ‘autonomous zone’ with several blocks controlled by activists. Police don’t even go in. We tried to respectfully get video-but left after two people confronted us near the barricades. Later learned many protestors don’t even feel comfortable there,” Brian Entin of News Nation Now reported. 

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Third-Degree Murder Charge Reinstated Against Chauvin

Derek Chauvin

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill Thursday overturned his own decision to drop third-degree murder charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after an appeal from state prosecutors. 

“The dispute over the third-degree murder charge revolved around wording in the law that references an act ’eminently dangerous to others,'” Spectrum News reported. “Cahill’s initial decision to dismiss the charge had noted that Chauvin’s conduct might be construed as not dangerous to anyone but Floyd.”

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Company Hired to Oversee Vaccine Operations Staffed with Former Minnesota DFL Operatives, Congressman Alleges

An out-of-state company tasked with overseeing Minnesota’s vaccine and testing operations received millions of dollars in CARES Act funds from the state while hiring former DFL operatives and candidates, a congressman has alleged.

U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn has drawn attention to his former opponent’s alleged involvement in “possible corruption” and “special favors” in a series of statements.

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