Best of Neighborhood News 9/5: Motion to dismiss charges in police shooting of Justine Damond

 

The attorneys of Mohamed Noor, the police officer who shot and killed Justine Damond in 2017, have filed to dismiss the charges against Noor on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct and a failure to demonstrate probable cause. The attorneys suggest that statements made by county attorney Mike Freeman undermined Noor’s right to a fair trial. This case is one of 10 fatal police shootings in 2017 alone. “Knowing that the night of July 15th ended in tragedy, it is easy to second-guess the split second decision of Officer Noor to draw his firearm and shoot,” write Noor’s attorneys, Tom Plunkett and Peter Wold, in a Hennepin County District Court filing. The trial for this case is set to begin in late September. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 8/8: No charges filed in police shooting of Thurman Blevins

 

On July 30, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced his decision to not file charges against MPD officers Ryan Kelly and Justin Schmidt. The two officers shot and killed Thurman Blevins during a police investigation on June 23 in the Camden neighborhood. Community members gathered and spoke out in response to the County Attorney’s decision. “This Thurman Blevins case did not happen in a vacuum, it happened as part of a history of corruption at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department,” said civil rights attorney and activist Nekima Levy-Armstrong, adding, “It is not an isolated incident — it is part of a pattern that shows [the MPD] diminish the lives of Black residents in Minneapolis.”

“I don’t want the media and the world to think we are angry. We aren’t angry. Continue Reading

St. Paul’s growing political will for $15 minimum wage may mean a faster track for passage

Samuel Callahan is a single father raising his 14-year-old daughter, the youngest of his seven children. The father-daughter pair share a one-bedroom apartment in North Minneapolis. It’s cramped quarters, and yet the small family still does not get to spend enough time together. Callahan has been working at a Taco Bell for the past four years, but in 2016 he also started picking up shifts at a McDonald’s in order to make ends meet. In total, Callahan works 17 hours a day, six days per week. Continue Reading

J4, the Hmong Freedom Festival [Photos]

If you live in Saint Paul, you probably know about J4, the annual gathering and freedom celebration that takes place each July 4th weekend in Como Park. The event has been going on for 35 years, and was founded to mark the anniversary of Hmong immigration into the United States. Continue Reading

The Rural Poetry of Tired Moonlight: Paul Dickinson on Starring in the Local Festival Hit

Tired Moonlight is local filmmaker Britni West’s first film as a director, and it’s  coming to the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival tomorrow. The film is an delicate atmospheric  homage to life in rural Montana, filled with soft touches, and introspective look at relationships in small towns. I really enjoyed it!Most films that depict rural poverty in America – think about a film like Winter’s Bone – paint a bleak picture of life at the margins. Tired Moonlight manages to make the world of back roads Montana seem lovely, without resorting to the usual nostalgic clichés. It was one of the most honest meditations on small town life I’ve seen, and almost made me wish I’d grown up in a place like Kalispell.The film also stars long-time Saint Paul punk musician, poet, book seller, and professor Paul Dickinson, who owns the Dead Media bookstore and runs the Riot Act Reading Series. Continue Reading

Franklin Avenue to be repaved and improved for bikes and pedestrians

Paving and improvements to Franklin Avenue just west of trunk Highway 280 will cause street closures and other traffic disruptions this summer. St. Anthony Park Community Council member Brad Engelmann said it will be worth the trouble. The council met with city officials in early March and reacted with enthusiasm to the plan, which Engelmann said will make the street friendlier to pedestrians and bikes and help draw the neighborhood together. “They included nearly all the elements we look for in a street plan,” said Engelmann, who co-chairs the community council’s transportation committee. Continue Reading

The Disability Community is “Making Strides” Toward Better Transit Access

The recently released Making Strides 2014 Accessibility Survey provides a wealth of data about the challenges faced by members of the disability community as they seek to access the Green Line. The report also makes clear why it’s so important to make sure that people with disabilities can get to the station safely and easily.Background data drawn from Minnesota Compass research shows we’re not dealing with just a small number of people. Currently,  approximately 10% of Minnesotans have a disability, and in some areas of the Twin Cities that percentage almost doubles; for example, in downtown Saint Paul, more than 18% of the population has a disability . There are also heavy concentrations of people with disabilities living along the Green Line where 44% (7 of 16) of Saint Paul Public Housing Hi-Rise buildings are located.Another reason it’s important to make sure people with disabilities can get to the station is that many are regular transit riders who depend on the bus or the light rail to get around independently and participate in the community. The report cites Metro Transit numbers that show heavy use of the Green Line: “In September 2014, the third full month of Green Line service, seven of the fourteen stations in Saint Paul had more than 1,000 boardings by people with disabilities, …and more than 2,000 boarded at Central Station.”Waiting to board the light railThe 2014 Accessibility Survey was planned and carried out by the District Councils Collaborative (DCC) in partnership with members of the disability community, some of whom had also participated in the DCC’s 2012 Walkability Survey. Continue Reading