No verdict as jury begins deliberating in Potter trial

21December 2021

Amy Forliti and Scott Bauer of the AP report: “The suburban Minneapolis police officer who says she meant to use her Taser instead of her gun when she shot and killed Black motorist Daunte Wright made a ‘blunder of epic proportions’ and did not have ‘a license to kill,’ a prosecutor told jurors on Monday shortly before they began deliberating in her manslaughter trial. Kim Potter’s attorney Earl Gray countered during closing arguments that the former Brooklyn Center officer made an honest mistake by pulling her handgun instead of her Taser and that shooting Wright wasn’t a crime. … The mostly white jury began deliberating shortly before 1 p.m. and quit for the day around 6 p.m. without reaching a verdict.”

In the Star Tribune, Jennifer Bjorhus writes, “The mining company seeking to build Minnesota’s first hard-rock mine did not mislead the state about the size of the copper-nickel mine it intends to build, and its air permit ‘remains in effect,’ state pollution regulators said Monday. The decision by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) frees up the air pollution permit it issued for the PolyMet Mining Corp.’s proposed mine, but it does not clear the way for construction of the $1 billion Iron Range mine because other environmental disputes around the bitterly contested project remain unresolved.”

Also from the AP: “Wreaths for each of the seven people whose bodies were discovered inside a Moorhead, Minn., home over the weekend were left outside the residence Monday, where friends and relatives wept in below-freezing weather and wondered what happened to their loved ones. Preliminary autopsy results showed the victims who lived together in Moorhead did not die from ‘any obvious trauma,’ but a cause of death has not been determined, police said. … Moorhead police identified the victims as 37-year-old Belin Hernandez, 34-year-old Marleny Pinto, 32-year-old Eldor Hernandez Castillo, 19-year-old Mariela Guzman Pinto, 16-year-old Breylin Hernandez, 7-year-old Mike Hernandez and 5-year-old Marbely Hernandez.”

At KSTP-TV, Alex Jokich says, “Nurses voiced exhaustion and frustration Monday, saying the current staffing levels at Minnesota hospitals are ‘unsafe’ and ‘unsustainable.’ … According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every county in Minnesota is considered to be at a high level of COVID-19 transmission. ‘This weekend, my ICU is full. Most of them won’t make it. They’re not making it anymore, folks,’ Turner said.”

A  FOX 9 story says, “Survey crews have now confirmed 15 tornadoes touched down in southern Minnesota during storms last week. In an update on Monday, the National Weather Service in La Crosse confirmed three more tornadoes in Minnesota, bringing the total in the state to 12 on Wednesday, December 15. Hours later, the Twin Cities National Weather Service branch added three more to their totals. Before December 15, Minnesota had never seen a tornado hit the state in December.”

MPR’s Peter Cox reports: “Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson was sentenced to two years probation on Monday for driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent. Hutchinson pleaded guilty to the DWI misdemeanor charge last week.  At 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 8, he was driving on Interstate 94 near Alexandria, Minn., when he rolled his government-owned SUV, a crash in which he was injured. He was hospitalized for several days with unspecified injuries. Court documents say he had a 0.13 blood alcohol concentration. … On Monday, he was sentenced to two years of probation. A 90-day jail sentence will be stayed if he follows the terms of his probation, which include a chemical assessment, no alcohol violations, no driver license violations, random testing and no alcohol or controlled-substance use. … One count of carrying a pistol under the influence of alcohol was continued for dismissal.”

Peter Passi writes in the Duluth News Tribune: “Developer George Sherman and representatives of the Duluth Armory Arts and Music Center announced Monday they have joined forces to transform the long-idle Duluth Armory into a food hall, performance venue and history center at an anticipated cost of $25 million-$26 million. But Sherman said the project will require about $7.5 million in state support to get off the ground. Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said the initiative has her full support and pledged to go to bat for the necessary funding in St. Paul.”

For Madison’s WISC-TV, Jaymes Langrehr says, “Less than three weeks after announcing the state’s first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services is issuing a public health advisory for it. …The state’s public health officials say they are continuing to research how Omicron is different than other variants of COVID-19, but current data from other states and places around the world has shown it spreads more easily than other strains — including the Delta variant, which became the dominant strain of the virus in Wisconsin.”

In the Pioneer Press, Mara H. Gottfried writes: “After a bronze goose statue was stolen from a park on St. Paul’s Summit Avenue, it was found Monday. The statue was reported stolen on Sunday from its perch in a fountain at Cochran Park at Western Avenue. It wasn’t immediately known when it happened, according to police. The statute turned up at a metal recycling center in St. Paul on Monday and it was turned over to city staff. No one was under arrest as of Monday and the investigation was ongoing.”

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