Tad Vezner / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Jeffrey Gedatus was driving his pickup down a dimming St. Paul street Thursday evening, Oct. 5, when a woman ran frantically in front his vehicle, banged on his passenger window — and soon relayed a tale about gunshots and cocaine. "My husband is trying to kill me!" the stranger screamed as he let her in and drove her to his home a couple of blocks away. On the way, she said her husband shot twice but missed both times, putting two bullets in a wall of their Dayton's Bluff home in the 400 block of Earl Street.
ST. PAUL — A longtime Minnesota litigator has become the new head of the state's American Civil Liberties Union. John Gordon, 69, who since February has been the interim legal director for the agency, was appointed this week to head the nonprofit, nonpartisan group. Gordon was a lawyer with Faegre Baker Daniels, one of the largest law firms in Minneapolis, from 1974 to 2014; he became partner at the firm in 1981. While there he worked on a range of cases, largely in civil commercial litigation — everything from personal injury to trust and estate cases.
ST. PAUL — Recommendations on how to build trust between Minnesota's police and minority communities were approved this week by a council tasked by the governor to do just that. However, several of the council's law enforcement representatives voted against the recommendations or abstained. And a portion didn't show up to vote. The recommendations passed 6-3, with representatives from the sheriffs', county attorneys', and police and peace officers' associations voting against them.
ST. PAUL — The federal office that is reviewing the St. Anthony Police Department in the wake of the Philando Castile fatal police shooting announced Friday, Sept. 15, that it would roll back the very program being used for the review — which community observers now believe will never come. On Friday, the Department of Justice announced that its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS office, would make changes to its "Collaborative Reform Initiative," which had been working with the St. Anthony department for many months.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday, Sept. 12, on a case that's received national attention: whether — or rather, in what way — someone can be ordered by the government to unlock their cellphone. While touching on the question of how the law strives to keep up with technology, the case largely revolves around constitutional protections against self-incrimination, or — as the Fifth Amendment puts it — being compelled to bear witness against oneself.
LAKE ELMO, Minn.—When former Washington County sheriff detective Jesse Kurtz read about a recent state effort to get family members of the missing to come forward, his mind drifted three decades back. "This thing has haunted me," Kurtz says. "I think of her almost every day." The 'thing' Kurtz is talking about is the 1988 disappearance of 19-year-old Susan Swedell from a Lake Elmo gas station, which remains unsolved to this day. Thousands of other Minnesotans have gone missing, before and since. But the case was a first for state officials in a big way.
ST. PAUL — It was anything but angry. Or solemn. There was, in fact, a spirited mix of sadness and joy during the first of several remembrances of Philando Castile on Thursday, a year from the day he was fatally shot by police. Amid grilled hot dogs, dancing and kids playing on a nearby bouncy castle, Castile's former girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds laid gifts on a table: a mix of donated clothes and kids toys she had received, more than she could possibly use. Gifts for the 100 or so guests.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's annual statewide crime statistics, released this week, reveal no big changes in the overall violent crime rate. But they do report a record-tying year of fatal police shootings, and a striking jump in sex-trafficking arrests in 2016. Violent crimes — including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults — increased 0.9 percent last year compared with the previous year, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The BCA tracks data reported to it directly from the state's law enforcement agencies.
CHASKA, Minn. — The family of a woman who was shot and killed by a Chaska police officer after a high-speed car chase on U.S. Highway 212 two years ago has agreed to a $1.75 million settlement — some of which the city will have to pay on its own. "This was a bad shooting. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it," said Minneapolis attorney Robert Bennett, who is representing the family of Dawn Marie Pfister, killed along with her boyfriend on the Eden Prairie highway in February of 2015.
ST. PAUL—A group of sexual abuse survivors engaged in bankruptcy court mediation with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has overwhelmingly rejected the archdiocese's proposed bankruptcy reorganization plan, which includes how much it should pay victims. The archdiocese and a group of survivors — the largest class of the archdiocese's "creditors" in the bankruptcy court — have submitted opposing plans over how much the archdiocese should offer survivors for abuse that occurred at the hands its clergy.