NEWS DAY | FBI in MPD video beating case / Dead trees in St. Paul / How health care works

mpd-patchFBI to investigate in MPD video beating case Invited in by Minneapolis police chief Tim Dolan, the FBI will investigate the February police beating of a man who had been thrown to the ground by an officer after a traffic stop. The chief’s invitation looks like damage control, after the release of the squad car video shows the apparently unresisting Darryl Jenkins being kicked, punched and tased by six cops.

MPR interviewed a former MPD officer, who confirmed that the use of force shown in the video looks “completely out of line:”

Mike Quinn is a retired Minneapolis police officer. During his 23 years on the force, he spent four years as head of the police academy. Many of the officers he trained are still on the force.

Quinn reviewed the video of Jenkins’ arrest and immediately saw some red flags.

“You’ve got a guy who’s down on the ground — passive resistance. He’s not fighting back. He’s not punching or kicking at anybody,” said Quinn. “Clearly there’s multiple punches being thrown by the officers, and kicks. From what I can see and just from the video, I would say somebody needs to investigate this because that appears to be completely out of line.”

Rhetorical question: How long will it take for the Minneapolis Police Department to change the departmental culture that tolerates and excuses this kind of behavior?

What’s with the dead trees? Unseasonably brown trees are one sign of stem girdling roots, which are killing hundreds of St. Paul trees, reports the TC Daily Planet. Maples are especially hard-hit, and the cause is bad planting practices. Because trees were planted too deep, roots are now choking the trunks, shortening life spans and thinning the urban forest:

Life for a street tree is tough. The average life for a boulevard tree is 25-35 years, a number Johnson calls terrible. “Box elders, in their native sites, live to 100-125 years,” he said. “Silver maples live 125 years or more. Burr oaks live 250-450 years and we have trees dying in 25-30 years. That is such a waste of time and money.”

How health care works The Minnesota Independent reports on one of the current health care “systems” identified by Ed Kohler who blogs at The Deets: “Tack up a poster for a fundraiser at a local cafe.”

MN (sort of) military news In Fridley, a defense contractor will lay off 314 of its 1,319 workers, reports the Star Tribune. BAE Systems said that, “These layoffs come as a result of the partial termination notice and stop-work orders the company received for its Future Combat Systems (FCS) manned ground vehicle program contracts.” BAE is a subcontractor for Boeing.

And in Arden Hills, the city council now supports making most of the four-square-mile Army munitions site into a regional park, reports the Star Tribune. The mayor opposes the plan, saying that more of the site should be redeveloped into manufacturing uses, though no new developer is in sight after the pullout of Ryan Companies earlier in the year. The flat parcel of land now has Army buildings on it, which would have to be torn down, and a contamination clean-up is also needed.

World/National News

Largest identity theft U.S. authorities have arrested Albert Gonzalez, 28, and two un-named Russian co-conspirators in the theft of 130 million credit card numbers, reports BBC. The trio used something known as the “SQL injection attack.”

According to BBC, consumers can do little to protect themselves from this kind of attack. The best advice is to check bank and credit card statements carefully and report suspicious transactions immediately.

Honduras Protests against the de facto government installed after the June coup continue, and so does violent repression of protest. In recent days:

August 11-12 – “The armed forces and police attacked tens of thousands of Hondurans in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, the industrial center of the country, resulting in two days of terror and fear in Honduras. Hundreds of people have been arrested, beaten, and many are wounded, according to reports from different human rights organizations. The nation’s two principal cities have been militarized.”
August 12 – After curfew, unidentified individuals drove past the office of Vía Campesina located in the Alameda neighborhood of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, shooting into the office.
August 14 – Protesters blocked vehicle traffic along the highway between San Pedro Sula and Puerto Cortés. After protest leaders and police reached an agreement to disperse peacefully, police instead chased protesters, arresting 27 severely beating many of them. Five protesters were hospitalized.

War Reports

Afghanistan A suicide attack on a NATO convoy on the outskirts of Kabul killed seven people and injured 50, reports NPR. The Taliban has denounced national elections, which will take place Thursday, and warned that people going to the polls will be putting themselves in danger. Rockets also hit the presidential palace and police headquarters in Kabul, according to the New York Times, which said those attacks caused no injuries.

President Hamid Karzai, who faces 30 opposing candidates, is seen as the front-runner.

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