Federal grand jury indicts four officers involved in death of George Floyd

Federal charges. The Star Tribune’s Andy Mannix reports: “A federal grand jury has indicted four ex-Minneapolis police officers on charges of abusing their positions of authority to detain George Floyd last May, an act that caused Floyd’s death. … The new charges, unsealed Friday morning, allege Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao used the ‘color of the law’ to deprive Floyd of his constitutional rights to be ‘free from the use of unreasonable force’ when Chauvin held Floyd down by his neck for more than nine minutes, and the other three did nothing to stop him. … They are not in custody. Chauvin is being held in Oak Park Heights prison awaiting sentencing on the state’s murder and manslaughter convictions related to the same incident.”

How small towns in Minnesota handle police misconduct cases. KSTP’s Ryan Raiche and Joe Augustine report: “When Shequita Heard visited a friend in Red Wing a few years ago, she never even made it inside the house. She was stopped by city police officers who were responding to a complaint about drug use in the neighborhood. … Heard said she felt targeted and harassed, and the next thing she knew, she was on the ground bleeding. …[H]er settlement was never made public. The terms were not disclosed in any press releases, social media posts or council agendas. … The council never even voted to approve the payout. … In fact, the city of Red Wing had little do with Heard’s lawsuit, according to the city official. … Instead, the city “authorized” the League of Minnesota Cities to handle it. The League is a little-known but highly powerful organization that was recently thrust into the spotlight after the police killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center led to questions about a possible lawsuit.

The true story behind the social media outrage. At Sahan Journal, Becky Z. Dernbach reports: “In the early afternoon of Tuesday, April 20, many Minnesotans anxiously awaited the verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd. But another group of people were training their attention on a Black educator in the Elk River schools. And they were growing very angry, very quickly. … “There is no place in school for this crap,” wrote one Facebook commenter. “And he should be removed.” … How did this school district of 12,000 students find itself at the center of a social media firestorm? A video, secretly recorded by a student during a ninth-grade social studies class, went viral on Facebook. … The recording, as these comments suggest, conjured social media outrage from parents within the district and throughout the state. But here’s what really happened in class that day.”

Whatever happened to just plain “jackals”? The Star Tribune’s Jana Hollingsworth writes: “A University of Minnesota Duluth administrator called the school’s student newspaper the ‘Ministry of Propaganda,’ and likened it to ‘fake news’ in an e-mail with numerous expletives that was sent to one of her colleagues and obtained by student reporters as part of a public data request. … A monthslong battle between student journalists and school officials came to a head this week when the newspaper published the results of the request that was answered in March, seven months after it was made. The more than 800-page response showed the extent of the animosity between the administrator, Jessi Eaton, and the student newspaper.”

Article continues after advertisement

In other news…

Shell shocked: “Wildlife staff mystified by die-off of more than 100 turtles in western Minnesota refuge” [Star Tribune]

Michelle Obama on the Chauvin verdict: “Former First Lady Michelle Obama On Derek Chauvin Verdict: ‘There’s Still Work To Be Done’” [WCCO]

Sorry, muggles: “Former Best Buy CEO says elevating ‘human magic’ key to good business” [Star Tribune]

Lucky: “Big Minnesota Lottery winners will get to keep names private” [Star Tribune]

Spelunky: “This historic Minnesota home for sale comes with caves” [Pioneer Press]