Minnesota: Jury Rules Cop Not Guilty In Shooting Of Philando Castile

Posted without comment.

From Huffington Post:

A jury on Friday found the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a black motorist during a traffic stop last year not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.

St. Anthony Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez was charged after he fatally shot Philando Castile, 32, last July. The aftermath was streamed on social media by Castile’s girlfriend, and the incident drew national attention and led to weeks of protests in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Yanez had testified that he was afraid for his life and that Castile did not follow his orders.

In the courtroom on Friday, people could be heard cursing as the verdict was read, and one woman sobbed. Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, abruptly left the court after the announcement and before court was formally dismissed.

The shooting in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights, like similar incidents across the United States, fueled public debate about the appropriate use of force by law enforcement against minorities.

Minnesota looks to raise minimum wage to $9.50 by 2016

MSNBC reports that state legislators in Minnesota appear to have agreed to raise the minimum wage in the state – one of the lowest in the country – to $9.50 by 2016:

In a press conference on Monday, party leaders announced a
crucial—and much fought over—part of the bill: the state’s minimum wage
would be indexed—tied to inflation—starting in 2018, with an annual cap
of 2.5%, though the governor’s administration does have the right to
stop these automatic hikes.

While lawmakers had agreed on a $9.50 wage as early as last summer,
they spent months negotiating over these automatic increases.

Minnesota’s current minimum wage is among the lowest in the
nation—$5.25 for smaller companies, $6.15 for larger companies, though
many employees are paid the higher, federal minimum wage of $7.25. After
the hike, it will be among the highest minimum wages.

Minnesota Vikings Blair Walsh: I stand with management regarding Kluwe’s accusations

The statement below comes from 2 year Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh.

It should be noted that Walsh watched Kluwe get fired for speaking out. Two brain cells could come up with the fact that to say anything other than the statement above could get you fired.

Just saying…

“I have been a member of the Minnesota Vikings for 2 years. I want to start off by saying I have the utmost respect for Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier and Mike Priefer. All three, are good men. I have had countless conversations and interactions with Coach Priefer, and I personally can attest to his integrity and character. His professionalism in the workplace is exemplary, and I firmly believe that my teammates would whole-heartedly agree.

“The allegations made today are reprehensible and totally not compatible with what Mike Priefer stands for.


“In my time here at Minnesota, Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier have exemplified true leadership. Contrary to Chris’ statements, they have promoted a workplace environment that was conducive for success. At no time did I ever feel suppressed or that I could not be myself.I firmly stand behind Rick Spielman, Leslie Frazier, and Mike Priefer.”

Minnesota Vikings respond to Chris Kluwe’s allegations of bigotry

Earlier today I reported on an essay by former Vikings punter (and LGBT ally) Chris Kluwe, who wrote a devastating account of his views on why he was released from the team last year.

The essay – “I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot” – chronicled Chris’ feelings that his public stance for LGBT rights led to his release from the team.

Via press release:

The Minnesota Vikings were made aware of Chris Kluwe’s allegations for the first time today. We take them very seriously and will thoroughly review this matter.

As an organization, the Vikings consistently strive to create a supportive, respectful and accepting environment for all of our players, coaches and front office personnel. We do not tolerate discrimination at any level. The team has long respected our players’ and associates’ individual rights, and, as Chris specifically stated, Vikings ownership supports and promotes tolerance, including on the subject of marriage equality.

Because he was identified with the Vikings, Chris was asked to be respectful while expressing his opinions. Team ownership and management also repeatedly emphasized to Chris that the Vikings would not impinge on his right to express his views.

Any notion that Chris was released from our football team due to his stance on marriage equality is entirely inaccurate and inconsistent with team policy.

Chris was released strictly based on his football performance. We will have further comment at the appropriate time.

At the end of the day, what else could the team say on the subject?

“Yep – we have bigots in charge over here?”

Minneapolis launches new campaign pitching marriage equality to Illinois residents

Minneapolis Mayor Rybak (center)

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is in Chicago today to launch “Marry Me In Minneapolis,” a campaign that invites Illinoisans to visit his city for their gay marriages.

Mayor Rybak unveiled the campaign at a press conference at Center on Halsted Sept. 5.

“Chicago is my kind of town, but right now, it’s a second city in human rights,” Rybak told reporters.

Chicago is missing out on tourism and entertainment dollars, Rybak said, money that Minneapolis would welcome.

The new ad campaign invites Chicagoans to tie the knot in Minneapolis.

“Hey Chicago!” one ad reads. “I want to marry you in Minneapolis!”

Rybak’s pitch aims to highlight the economic urgency of passing same-sex marriage in Illinois as well as bolster his city’s tourism industry.

A recent Williams Institute study found that marriage equality in Illinois could generate $103 million in spending from Illinois couples alone. Out-of-state marriages could add to that number. Windy City Times found that 70 percent of Iowa’s same-sex marriages were between out-of-state couples. Those numbers are expected to increase as the effective repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act has opened up a laundry list of rights to married same-sex couples, not available to Illinois civil union couples.

That is a reality Rybak wants to capitalize on.

He wants Chicago couples to hop a flight to Minneapolis and spend their wedding dollars there, he said.. He is making the same pitch in Milwaukee, Madison and Denver as part of a tour targeting midwest cities without marriage equality.


Minnesota: Rep. Keith Ellison celebrates marriage equality with “This Land Is Your Land”

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison provides a little musical celebration as marriage equality comes to his state.

Ellison tells Politico:

“I mean a year ago it looked like [there might be] a constitutional amendment in the state of Minnesota barring people from marriage equality and now here we are today, not just celebrating the defeat of the anti-marriage amendment, but the success of marriage equality. I think that’s something to rejoice about.

“It was a massive effort from diverse parts of the community and it succeeded so. It means that America’s a little freer, a little fairer, a little more equal, a little more accepting of all people. I think that’s worth celebrating.”

(h/t Towleroad)

Marriage equality begins at midnight in MInnesota and Rhode Island

Congratulations to the LGBT communities in Minnesota and Rhode Island as marriage equality becomes a reality at midnight tonight.

In Rhode Island, Lee Swislow, GLAD’s executive director made the following statement: “Congratulations to all of the loving, committed Rhode Island couples who can now marry and enjoy the dignity and security of having their marriage recognized at home and by the federal government. We are joyful and proud that each of the six New England states recognizes the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.”

GLAD was an active part of the coalition that worked for many years to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples in Rhode Island through legal work, public education, and providing strategic expertise.

Some people in Rhode Island can’t see the writing on the wall, though, as one man tried to get a temporary restraining order in place to stop the upcoming nuptials:

Ronald L’Heureux, a cofounder of the Faith Alliance to Preserve the Sanctity of Marriage as Defined by God, brought a petition and complaint to the court on Tuesday morning and sought a temporary restraining order to stop the law from taking effect. Judge Daniel A. Procaccini denied the request, saying L’Heureux had fallen “far short” of the criteria needed to obtain a temporary restraining order, said court spokesman Craig Berke.

Instead, Procaccini scheduled a preliminary hearing for Aug. 9.

L’Heureux’s complaint, which names Governor Chafee, state Department of Health Director Michael Fine and 75 state lawmakers who voted for same-sex marriage as defendants, argues that legalizing same-sex marriage will violate religious freedoms guaranteed by the state Constitution, forcing people to accept, in public spheres such as schools, a practice that they oppose based on their faith.
“It violates the Constitution and causes irreparable harm, and once it passes they’re going to teach my children and grandchildren conduct that’s reprehensible to my faith,” said L’Heureux, who represented himself in court.

With gay marriages becoming legal in Minnesota on Thursday, courthouses in major cities across the state will be open after midnight to accommodate dozens of same-sex couples eager to tie the knot.

“It’s good for our business,” says Ron Stein, a jeweler in Minneapolis, where the mayor plans to conduct weddings for approximately 40 couples. “We’ve had orders already.”

NPR Minnesota reports that the city of Minneapolis is hosting an extravaganza at City Hall tonight where Mayor R.T. Rybak will officiate at the marriage of 42 same-sex couples. The celebration, which will stretch well into Thursday morning, includes performances by local musicians, a brass quintet and a reception at the nearby Hotel Minneapolis.

In recent days, the Minneapolis Star Tribune has published articles about the coming “boon” to the state’s wedding industry, as well as the phenomenon of same-sex couples facing the same sort of pre-wedding “jitters” long known to straight couples.

First same-sex marriage license issued in Minnesota

From KSTP.com:

More than a dozen couples had applied for licenses in Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties by noon Thursday. In Pipestone County in southwestern Minnesota, which has been accepting applications since Monday, Recorder Mary Ann DeGroot said one couple signed up immediately.

A recent analysis by the state Department of Management and Budget estimated that 5,000 Minnesota gay couples would get married in the first year under the new law.

(via Towleroad)