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The city of Minneapolis will pay nearly $9 million to settle lawsuits filed by two people who said former police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into their necks years before he used that move in the killing of George Floyd. Their attorney, Bob Bennett, says John Pope Jr. will receive $7.5 million and Zoya Code will receive $1.375 million. The settlements were announced during a meeting of the Minneapolis City Council. The lawsuits stemmed from arrests in 2017. That was three years before Chauvin killed Floyd during an arrest captured on video that resulted in a national reckoning on racial injustice.

A pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies is criticizing some Major League Baseball teams for extending alcohol sales with games running around 30 minutes shorter due to the sport’s new pitch clock. Matt Strahm said Thursday on the Baseball Isn’t Boring podcast that teams should be moving the cutoff for beer sales up to the sixth inning, rather than stretching to the eighth or later, since fans will have less time to sober up and drive home. At least five teams — the Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers — have extended alcohol sales past the traditional seventh-inning cutoff. The Baltimore Orioles had already allowed sales into the eighth.

Black police chiefs, commissioners, sheriffs and commanders from across the country are set to meet this weekend in Detroit for the annual CEO symposium of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. The meeting's agenda, spread across Friday and Saturday, includes panels on diversity, equity and inclusion, best practices for mental health responses in policing, and managing the response to mass shootings. But it will be the first national symposium since the beating death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, reignited a national reckoning over police use of force and sparked a debate about the value of diversity among police leadership and the rank in file.

Owners of a pork processing plant in southern Minnesota say more than 1,000 people could lose their jobs if a new owner isn't found soon. HyLife Foods filed a notice this week that it has not been able to improve business at its Windom operation. The company cited inflation, high grain costs and operational losses as some reasons it has not been profitable. About 1,007 employees would be laid off if the plant closes. Immigrants are a large portion of the workforce at the plant. The company said layoffs could begin Monday and end by June 2.

Thanks to the pitch clock, the action is moving much faster at Major League Baseball games. It also means a little less time for fans to enjoy a frosty adult beverage. To combat that time crunch, at least four teams — the Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers — have extended alcohol sales through the eighth inning this season. Teams historically have stopped selling alcohol after the seventh. MLB games have been considerably shorter this season, largely thanks to a series of rule changes. Through the first 1 1/2 weeks of the season, the average game time was down 31 minutes, on track to be the sport’s lowest since 1984.

A student at a private southeastern Minnesota college has been charged with multiple counts after authorities say they found empty ammunition and magazine boxes, knives, propane canisters and other items in his dorm room. Twenty-year-old Waylon Kurts, a St. Olaf College student, was charged Monday with conspiracy to commit second degree assault, conspiracy to commit threats of violence and other counts. St. Olaf officials say they became suspicious of Kurts last week, when a custodian saw two empty packages for high-capacity magazines in a garbage can. Authorities say they also found notebooks that included a hand-drawn map of the recreational facility on southeastern Minnesota campus. Kurts' defense attorney said Kurts is an avid camper who shoots a lot.

A new report concludes that the University of Minnesota should hire more Native American faculty, offer students more financial support and give back land to atone for its historic mistreatment of the state’s tribes. Totaling more than 500 pages, the report released Tuesday is the result of a collaborative effort between the council and the university called the TRUTH Project, which stands for Towards Recognition and University-Tribal Healing. The effort has received funding from the Mellon Foundation. Minnesota Public Radio reports that the university thanked researchers in a statement for their “truth-telling,” saying that it “will benefit us all going forward.”

Aliyah Boston is the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, going to the Indiana Fever. It’s the first time that the Fever have had the top choice in the draft and they chose the South Carolina star. Boston, a three-time AP All-American who also was the Player of the Year as a junior, will solidify the post for Indiana. The Fever had the worst record in the league last season, going 5-31. Boston was one of four South Carolina players expected to be taken in the first two rounds of the draft. Minnesota took Diamond Miller with the No. 2 pick and Dallas drafted Maddy Siegrist with the third pick.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is moving fast to pardon a U.S. Army sergeant convicted in the 2020 killing of an armed protester. So fast, the judge hasn’t even handed down a sentence. Sgt. Daniel Perry faces up to life in prison after being convicted of murder last week in the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Garrett Foster. The case will next go to sentencing. But Abbott has made clear that he believes Perry should walk free. The Republican floated the prospect of a pardon over the weekend after immediate outrage over Perry's conviction from conservatives, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

The WNBA is adding charter flights for the entire playoffs and back-to-back regular season games this year. The league announced Monday it will pay for all of the flights. The cost is expected to be around $4.5 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because details haven’t been publicly released. The league chartered for the WNBA Finals as well as for the road team in the Commissioner Cup championship game last year. As for Brittney Griner, the WNBA says it has plans for her travel but would like to keep them "confidential."

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is now in her third term and she's no longer defined by the “firsts” that accompanied her arrival in Congress. Those included being one of the first Muslim women in the House, the first African refugee elected to Congress and the first lawmaker to wear a hijab on the House floor. In interviews with nearly a dozen Democrats in the House and Senate, lawmakers portray Omar as a serious legislator who in the past four years has earned admiration for giving voice to marginalized groups often forgotten on Capitol Hill. And she's moved up the ranks in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, one of the largest ideological caucuses in the House.

With rents rising at mobile home parks across the U.S., housing advocates are urging state legislatures to pass bills that would help residents buy their parks if they’re put up for sale. In recent years, large investment firms have been buying mobile home parks across the country, often selling them for redevelopment or raising rent and displacing residents — many of them seniors and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes. Advocates say that offering residents the chance to buy their parks would help preserve a key affordable housing option, while opponents say such rules would place undue burdens on landlords. The debate comes as the nation grapples with a critical shortage of affordable housing.

North Dakota lawmakers have named Denise Lajimodiere as the state's poet laureate, making her the first Native American to hold the position. The Ojibwe educator is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band and the author of award-winning books of poetry. She’s also an expert on the gruesome history of Native American boarding schools. As the poet laureate, Lajimodiere plans to hold workshops with Native students and develop a publication that focuses on them. A North Dakota lawmaker says Lajimodiere’s writings have advanced conversations on contemporary issues. They range from ongoing investigations of boarding school atrocities to how Native American children are treated in adoption proceedings in the future.

A federal judge in Wisconsin has sentenced a Minnesota man to two years in prison for aiming a laser at a Delta Air Lines jet in 2021. Prosecutors say the act disrupted the pilots’ efforts to land and put passengers in “incredible danger.” Forty-three-year-old James Link, of Rochester, Minnesota, pleaded guilty in January. According to the U.S. attorney’s office in Madison, the pilots of the Delta flight from Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, to Minneapolis reported that their cockpit was lit up three times by a bright blue laser near River Falls, Wisconsin, when they were on approach to Minneapolis.

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Minnesota’s moose population has dropped in the past year but wildlife managers say it remains relatively stable overall. The annual estimate by the Department of Natural Resources, released Thursday, put the state’s moose population 3,290. That's down from 2022’s estimate of 4,700, which was the most in a decade. But the DNR says the population has been relatively stable since 2013. After a decline from approximately 8,000 in 2009, the DNR said Minnesota’s moose population appears to have stabilized at about 3,700 animals in recent years.

Gov. Tim Walz has taken the rare step of taking a murder case away from Hennepin County prosecutors and handing it to Attorney General Keith Ellison. Two brothers, ages 15 and 17, are accused of killing of 23-year-old Zaria McKeever in her Brooklyn Park apartment last November at the direction of her ex-boyfriend. Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty had offered them juvenile plea deals to spare them lengthy adult sentences in exchange for their testimony against the ex-boyfriend. But McKeever’s family objected. Ellison had criticized the plea deal, and Walz used his authority Thursday to give the case to him.

The Minnesota Legislature will return from its Easter-Passover break on Tuesday with a remarkably high number of bills already signed into law. But lawmakers have plenty of work ahead to complete a balanced two-year budget in the six weeks before the mandatory adjournment on May 22. Democrats seized the moment when lawmakers convened in January to rush through a slew of their priorities that they couldn’t pass when Republicans controlled the Senate. But the speed has frustrated Republicans, who feel steamrollered and have accused Democrats of going on a spending spree and increasing the size of government instead of providing permanent tax relief.

A Minnesota utility has reversed its decision to divest from a large North Dakota coal-fired power plant, citing new risks in the Midwest electricity market. Fergus Falls-based Otter Tail Power announced in 2021 that it would sell its minority stake in the Coyote Station Power Plant in Beulah, North Dakota. At the time, Otter Tail said the plant had become too costly and would become unnecessary as it added more renewable energy. But the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reports that Otter Tail has now told Minnesota regulators that it still needs Coyote Station for generation capacity and concerns about the regional power grid.

Native American activist Winona LaDuke has resigned as executive director of the Indigenous-led environmental group Honor the Earth after the organization lost a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former employee. LaDuke announced her resignation Wednesday in a Facebook post, saying she failed the former worker by not responding sufficiently to her allegations against a coworker. A Minnesota jury awarded Molly Campbell $750,000 last week in her suit against the organization. LaDuke was a leader of the opposition to the Line 3 oil pipeline in 2021 and twice ran for vice president as Ralph Nader’s running mate on the Green Party ticket.

An anti-abortion group is suing the city of Minneapolis to overturn an ordinance that prohibits the obstruction of entrances and driveways to abortion clinics. The ordinance, enacted in November, was designed to protect patients going to the Planned Parenthood clinic in the Uptown neighborhood from “sidewalk counselors” who would try to dissuade them from getting abortions. Pro-Life Action Ministries and several of its staff members filed the challenge in federal court Wednesday. They argue that it's an unconstitutional violation of free speech and freedom of religion. Planned Parenthood and Mayor Jacob Frey say they stand by the ordinance.

A settlement has been reached in two lawsuits filed over police response to demonstrators after the death of George Floyd. The settlement announced Tuesday bans Bob Kroll, the former head of the Minneapolis police union, from serving as a police officer or in any leadership role in law enforcement agencies in Hennepin, Ramsey or Anoka Counties for the next decade. He also cannot serve on the Minnesota board that trains officers. The ACLU of Minnesota alleged Kroll was an “unofficial policymaker” for Minneapolis police, who were accused of using unconstitutional brutality against protesters. In the settlement, Kroll did not admit any wrongdoing. He retired in January 2021.

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