Civil Rights

Actions of three officers present at George Floyd’s killing scrutinized in federal trial opening

BY: - January 24, 2022

Federal prosecutors in St. Paul said Monday that ex-Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane had a lawful duty to step in and stop their superior officer, Derek Chauvin, when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, eventually killing him. Special Litigation Counsel Samantha Trepel of the […]

Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee Nation’s first woman principal chief, to appear on U.S. quarter this year

BY: - January 13, 2022

The U.S. Mint will begin shipping quarters this year commemorating Wilma Mankiller, the first woman elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, along with four other women. U.S. Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota asked the U.S. Mint to create the quarters honoring Mankiller following passage of a bill she cosponsored celebrating the ratification of the […]

Commission tables vote on changing sentencing guidelines for repeat offenders

BY: - January 13, 2022

The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission on Thursday postponed a controversial vote that would have eliminated the practice of weighing the custody status of repeat criminal offenders during sentencing.  The delay comes weeks after emotional public testimony against the plan. Last month, fierce debate over the proposal lasted for hours and included testimony from lawmakers, police […]

American Indian Movement co-founder Clyde Bellecourt, ‘Neegonnwayweedun,’ dies at 85

BY: - January 11, 2022

Clyde Bellecourt, one of the most influential leaders in the Red Power movement and fight for Native American civil rights, died Tuesday at his home in Minneapolis. He was 85. His legacy encompasses high-profile, sometimes militant acts of civil disobedience alongside peaceful efforts to found schools, improve health care and nurture Native culture in the […]

Longtime Twin Cities activist and journalist Mel Reeves has died at 64 after battle with COVID-19

BY: - January 6, 2022

Mel Reeves, a prominent Twin Cities activist and community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, died Thursday after being hospitalized with COVID-19. He was 64 years old. Reeves covered police brutality, labor and social justice issues for the Spokesman-Recorder, the oldest Black-owned business in Minnesota, off and on for nearly three decades. “Mel was a great […]

Political groups defend their redistricting proposals in oral arguments

BY: - January 4, 2022

A panel of five judges appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday for four different congressional district map proposals ahead of a Feb. 15 deadline to redraw the state’s election borders.  The delay of Census 2020 figures has created a time crunch for the redrawn legislative maps. In recent months, lawmakers, […]

State commission proposal to modify sentences for repeat offenders sparks fierce debate

BY: - December 17, 2021

A proposal from the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission to no longer consider a repeat criminal offender’s custody status at sentencing generated fierce debate on Thursday, with a list of testifiers that included lawmakers, police chiefs, crime victims and others. The commission, made up of 11 members appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court chief justice and […]

McDonald’s sexual harassment lawsuit gets a boost from Human Rights department

BY: - December 14, 2021

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has filed to join a lawsuit against a Twin Cities McDonald’s franchisee, alleging it fostered a workplace culture of sexual harassment that led to a 14-year-old employee being raped by a manager at a Maple Grove McDonald’s in 2019. The action comes days after the former employee and her […]

Activists arrested on freeway protest charges by rejecting plea deals and going to trial

BY: - December 6, 2021

The day after the 2020 general election, state troopers arrested 646 people for marching onto Interstate 94 in Minneapolis to protest President Donald Trump’s efforts to stop ballot counting and various social injustices. The mass arrest — the largest in recent state history — signaled the Minnesota State Patrol was done cajoling and pleading with […]

Federal commission adds three Native American languages to voter registration resources

BY: - December 2, 2021

Access to voting information got a little bit easier for some Native Americans. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has released new national voter registration forms that are available in Diné, Apache and Yup’ik languages. This is the first time the federal commission released voting materials with any type of Native American translations. The commission […]

U.S. Supreme Court considers new limits on abortions in Mississippi case

BY: and - December 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is weighing potentially sweeping changes to the right to an abortion, after two hours of arguments Wednesday morning on a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The court’s conservatives, who hold a 6-3 majority, appeared through their questions to be sympathetic to Mississippi’s arguments that its […]

Brooklyn Center leaders divided over police budget as trial of former officer Kim Potter begins

BY: - November 30, 2021

Around midnight on the night before the start of the manslaughter trial of former police officer Kim Potter, Brooklyn Center city leaders found themselves at an impasse over their police department’s budget and how to fund the reforms they’d agreed to make nearly seven months previously. Mayor Mike Elliott proposed during a special city council […]