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Is Governor Dayton Bigoted Against Minnesotans?

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Governor Mark Dayton prejudged the Jeronimo Yanez case hours after the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, at a time when virtually nothing was known about the facts. He said: Would this have happened if the driver were white, if the passengers were white? I don’t think it would have. Since then, Yanez has been indicted for manslaughter, and has been tried and acquitted by a unanimous jury that included two African-Americans. Yet Dayton still takes a prejudiced view of the case. Yesterday he met with African-American leaders and said, reacting to the recently-released dash cam video of the incident: With stone-faced African-American leaders...

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Officer Acquitted In Shooting That Gov. Dayton Prejudged

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This afternoon, a Ramsey County jury acquitted police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the fatal shooting, last July, of Philando Castile. The case drew worldwide attention, mostly because Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed the immediate aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. Following the verdict, one of the jurors said that the initial vote had been 10-2 for acquittal, but it took five days for the two holdouts to go along with the other ten. There were two African-Americans on the jury, neither of whom was one of the two holdouts. The acquittal of Yanez doesn't seem surprising. The charge of second-degree manslaughter doesn't...

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A Theater District’s Bad Stretch of Bad Actors

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It was encouraging to read in the Star Tribune on Tuesday (April 4) that Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, along with the CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, the CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council and other city leaders had implemented a new plan to “make sure that Hennepin Avenue is, and feels, inviting, welcoming, and safe for everyone from every neighborhood, at every time of day.” To its credit, the plan has a lot of moving parts, including increased presence of Minneapolis and Transit police officers as well as Hennepin County deputies; greater involvement of civic organizations such as...

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Star Tribune support for Republican “protest” bill a vital step forward

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The Star Tribune should be commended for their important January 19 editorial: Take prudent steps to keep protests safe.  They are basically agreeing with Republican efforts to more effectively deter protesters from shutting down highways and rail lines.  The Star Tribune’s message that this type of recent protester behavior is unacceptable is a vital step forward toward restoring order and public safety.  Here are the highlights, with emphasis added: Legislators at the State Capitol would be wise to proceed carefully with efforts to clamp down on certain types of protest — namely, those that block highways and light rail tracks —...

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Desperately Seeking Islamophobia

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Today's Minneapolis Star Tribune sounds an alarm on hate crimes against Muslims, a common theme in the news lately: While alleged terrorist acts by American Muslims dominate public debate, terror acts against Muslims are rising sharply, even as other hate crime categories appear to be on the decline, according to researchers and data reviewed by the Star Tribune. The incidents have alarmed Twin Cities Muslims, though many say they are uncertain whether to notify law enforcement or respond quietly for fear of fanning more hostility. But what constitutes "rising sharply"? This is the graph that accompanies the article: There are four lines on the...

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Why Did St. Paul Kick Cops Off Review Board?

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St. Paul cops have always been outranked on the city's Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission. The review board for investigating complaints of police misconduct has been comprised of five civilian representatives and two officers since its inception two decades ago. But now St. Paul City Councilors have caved to pressure from an overflow crowd at City Hall with media reporting police were voted off the review board and will no longer be involved in the process. Apparently that wasn't the plan going into the December 7 city council meeting. The city council was moving toward keeping officers on the commission, but some were...

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Heather Mac Donald’s Research on the Law and Order Crisis

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On Thursday (Dec. 8) American Experiment will host Heather Mac Donald, the premier crime expert in the nation for a special lunch forum on her new book: The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law Enforcement Makes Everyone Less Safe.  We are expecting a full room of over 350 that will include about 150 law enforcement officers who will be recognized and honored. $30 tickets are available here.   This morning (Dec. 2) Heather Mac Donald gave a terrific interview to the Justice & Drew Show on AM-1130.  The summary below gives a good concise review of her important...

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Judge Davis Sentences Would-Be Terrorists

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Over the last three days, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis has sentenced the nine young Somalis who pled guilty, or were tried and convicted, of trying to travel to Syria to fight with ISIS. Judge Davis started at the bottom and worked his way up. On Monday, he handed down the lightest sentences. One defendant, who pled guilty, cooperated with police and testified against other defendants, was sentenced to time already served. A second defendant who pled guilty and cooperated got 30 months, while a third who pled guilty but did not cooperate with police was sentenced to ten...

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We Should Expect More from MPR on St. Anthony Police Story Than Just Another Bias Narrative

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You’d think trained journalists would use their reason and investigative skills to dig and uncover “the real story” instead of jumping quickly and uncritically to the “cops are biased” narrative.  Minnesota Public Radio’s major November 2nd 12-minute story on St. Anthony police ticketing black drivers disproportionately did just that with embarrassingly simplistic reasoning. The news story notes that over a five-year period blacks made up 44% of drivers cited during equipment stops, which is far above the 7% black population in the communities St. Anthony police patrol, and even more than 12% of blacks who live in Hennepin and Ramsey counties.  The...

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Zeller response to Minneapolis City Council member Blong Yang on lurking law and crime

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On Monday (Oct. 24) Minneapolis City Council member Blong Yang responded to my earlier Star Tribune op-ed that discussed the council’s politically correct repeal of their lurking ordinance and the likely connection with recent downtown shootings.  Here’s my response to his arguments: He says I suggested “that the repeal of the lurking ordinance in MInneapolis (sic) has tied the hands of law enforcement.”  This isn’t my original idea, I was quoting Minneapolis police union leader Lt. Bob Kroll who pleaded with the City Council not to take away this “very useful tool” as reported by the Star Tribune May 7, 2015...

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