Four Minneapolis Police Officers Fired Following Death Of Black Man

Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd

The Minneapolis Police Department has fired four officers involved in the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while being arrested on Monday. He was reportedly being detained as a possible suspect in a bad check-writing case.

The incident, showing one officer kneeling on the neck of handcuffed Gregory Floyd as he lay face down on the ground, was recorded and shared across social media on Monday night.

In the video, Floyd can be heard saying he could not breathe many times. As the video continues, he seems to lose consciousness.

Floyd was later pronounced dead at the Hennepin County Medical Center.

You can see portions of the video footage below. Warning: extremely disturbing.

“The man looked already dead before the ambulance even got there. He was clearly trying to tell them he couldn’t breathe and they ignored him,” Darnella Frazier, one of the people who filmed the incident, told NBC News.

The police department has told reporters that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been contacted to independently investigate. Additionally, the department announced the FBI would also be investigating.

The names of the four officers have not been released by the Minneapolis Police Department.

The news of the firing of the officers was shared by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Twitter where he called the decision “the right call.”

“Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated,” Frey wrote. “This is the right call.”

Minneapolis City Council Bans So-Called ‘Conversion Therapy’

(stock photo via Depositphotos)

Minneapolis will become the first city in the state of Minnesota to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ which claims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The new ordinance, authored by Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, was passed unanimously by the Minneapolis City Council.

According to the Star Tribune, the only step left is for Mayor Jacob Frey to sign the ordinance into law.

The ban will prohibit any licensed mental health professional from providing or attempting conversion therapy on minors. Violations will be subject to fines of up to $1,000.

Members of the clergy who are “acting in their roles as clergy or pastoral counselors” will be exempt from the regulation.

Cunningham, the first transgender man of color to be elected to public office in the U.S., called the harmful practice “tantamount to torture.”

And he speaks from personal experience having been subjected to conversion therapy as a child in his church.

Speaking to the local NBC News affiliate, Cunningham said succinctly, “It tries to convince people that they are not who they are.”

Conversion therapy, also known as ‘ex-gay therapy,’ has been widely denounced as discredited pseudoscience by leading professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association.

Studies have shown that the controversial practice can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 18 states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this harmful practice.

This week the American Medical Association announced its support for a federal ban on the dangerous practice.

Minneapolis: Rabbi Pleads Guilty To Sexting With Underage Teen

Aryeh Leiv Cohen (mug shot)

A former Rabbi in Minnesota pleaded guilty last Friday to engaging in electronic communication describing sexual conduct with a child.

Aryeh Leiv Cohen thought he was exchanging messages with a 16-year-old boy on Grindr back in January, but in reality, he was chatting with an undercover cop.

According to court documents, the undercover agent told Cohen several times he wouldn’t turn 16-years-old until August, to which Cohen responded, “It’s a little illegal…” but would then go on to describe the sex acts he was hoping to engage in.

On February 1, a meeting was setup between the former rabbi and the ’16-year-old’ at an apartment building in North St. Paul.

Upon his arrest, the 44-year-old reportedly told the police, “I sort of deserve it.”

He also allegedly told the officers that he didn’t “think much would happen” when he arrived at the apartment because the person he believed he was meeting was ‘sexually inexperienced.’

The arrest was part of a sting operation aimed at combating the online solicitation of sex with minors. Several others were also arrested in conjunction with the undercover operation.

Cohen had been working as a rabbi and director of youth outreach for the Minneapolis Community Kollel, a Jewish learning center.

The center immediately issued a statement upon learning of his arrest that he’d been relieved of his duties.

Local ABC News affiliate KSTP reports that Cohen is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on January 16.

Archdiocese Declares Bankruptcy Saving Assets From Molestation Abuse Lawsuits

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has filed for bankruptcy protecting millions in assets from molestation abuse lawsuits.

Via the Star Tribune:

The move freezes lawsuits against the church, protecting the archdiocese from creditors while allowing it to develop a reorganization plan. It also halts three abuse trials scheduled to begin Jan. 26.

The archdiocese is facing more than 20 lawsuits, with another 100 pending.

[snip]

Not everyone welcomed the move, including Twin Cities victims’ attorney Patrick Noaker, whose client’s lawsuit against the Rev. Thomas Stitts was to go to trial Jan. 26. He said he was disappointed “the archdiocese chose to file bankruptcy rather than have the facts exposed at trial.”

“Bankruptcies do not protect kids,” said Noaker in a written statement. “Trials and disclosures help protect kids. The Archdiocese’s bankruptcy filing just one week before officials would have to testify in a public court with television cameras is not the conduct of an organization committed to transparency and protecting kids.”

Campaign ad: “Wake Up Minneapolis”

Not sure if this is actually going to get Jeff Wagner elected mayor of Minneapolis (even with his promises of ‘not going to the strip clubs anymore), but it’s sure a way to get attention on the interwebs.

I did laugh when he takes his coffee and heads back into his lagoon…

Don’t you love campaign ads?

(h/t Towleroad)