Minneapolis residents hope for progress in fight against ‘pandemic of violence’

It was a violent Tuesday evening in Minneapolis.

It included the accidental shooting of a 14-year-old around 5:30 p.m. and then another shooting leaving two men injured — both on the North Side.

Minutes before, officers found a woman in south Minneapolis — the aftermath, investigators say, of an argument that escalated into gunfire.

Now, Bishop Richard Howell from Shiloh International Temple Ministries is worried about safety on the streets. He says law-abiding citizens and city leaders need to step up.

“All of us need to realize this is a pandemic of violence,” he declares. “[It] can be prevented if we all step in now, look at our neighborhoods, check our houses, talk to one another. Neighbors, let’s be neighborly with one another.”

Minneapolis is in the middle of a serious fight against violent crime.

Last year, the city was just one homicide shy of the record set back in 1995, when the New York Times dubbed it “Murderapolis.”

Things are looking a little better this year, but not by much. Police say the numbers are still higher than 2019, before the pandemic — when the city had 21 homicides at this point in the summer. An MPD commander told the City Council’s Public Safety Committee that as of Aug. 8 of this year, there had been 56 homicides in Minneapolis — slightly down from 60 at the same time last year.

Tuesday’s shootings happened just days after the swearing-in of Cedric Alexander, Minneapolis’ first community safety commissioner.

The police department is still short on officers, but the city says it’s trying to hire more.

Ezra Watson, who lives in north Minneapolis, hopes for change.

“It’s either you’re part of the problem or part of the solution,” he says. “I see a lot of stuff going on. A lot of it, to me, is senseless.”

Watson says he often goes to Fairview Park to shoot hoops and clear his mind. He adds that gunfire is a part of his life now.

“It’s scary. I ain’t going to lie you know, it’s like living in a war zone,” he says. “I was on a bus like two days ago, and they were shooting.”

On Wednesday, MPD Cmdr. Jason Case told the public safety committee that targeting five high crime areas called ‘”focus zones” is paying off.  

“We’re going to continue to do focused enforcement detail because we know they work,” he says.

Police say they’ve also found that neighborhoods with the highest number of shooting calls also have the largest number of fentanyl pills recovered in the same area.

Bishop Howell says in this environment, he worries about young people.

He pleaded for parents to be more involved in the lives of their children— knowing where they are, and making sure they’re home at a certain time.  

“There’s a lot of hopelessness,” he notes quietly. “I think one of the driving forces behind it is the drug fentanyl, and other drugs that kids are taking — and they have absolutely no fear of their lives being taken.”

All of this troubles former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels, who successfully sued the city with other North Side residents, demanding they hire more officers.

Samuels narrowly lost in the Democratic primary for the 5th Congressional District seat Tuesday.

“We’ve made peace with a certain level of crime,” he says. “Therefore, we’ve made peace with a certain amount of victimization, trauma.”

Another concerning trend, according to police, is the volume of automatic gunfire in the city. Authorities say they first noted hearing about it roughly two years ago, and it’s only become more common since. Police say some guns are being switched into automatic weapons, with added parts. Since August 2020, the city’s ShotSpotter system has detected more than 4,100 rounds.

Samuels says amid all this, city leaders and police should regard any uptick in crime in any neighborhood as a priority.

“We have to be more quickly responsive so that a tent city doesn’t have to have 10 rapes, two murders, three houses burned before we say enough,” he says. “There has to be for the slightest problem, a quick reaction.”

Key race results in Minnesota’s primary election

Minnesota’s primary election day was on Tuesday.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS tracked contested Republican and Democratic party primary races for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, U.S. House, state Senate and state House.

Here’s a look at key races in the state:

Key Races
MN ATTORNEY GEN. – DFL
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:09
Precincts Reporting: 4103 of 4103 | 100.00 %
Votes
Ellison (Dem)
Keith Ellison (Dem)
378,393
89.00%
Dahn (Dem)
Bill Dahn (Dem)
45,117
11.00%
Full Results
MN ATTORNEY GEN. – GOP
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:09
Precincts Reporting: 4103 of 4103 | 100.00 %
Votes
Schultz (GOP)
Jim Schultz (GOP)
163,960
53.00%
Wardlow (GOP)
Doug Wardlow (GOP)
108,546
35.00%
Anderson (GOP)
Sharon Anderson (GOP)
39,732
13.00%
Full Results
U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 5 – DFL
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:08
Precincts Reporting: 217 of 217 | 100.00 %
Votes
Omar (Dem)
Ilhan Omar (Dem)
57,683
50.00%
Samuels (Dem)
Don Samuels (Dem)
55,217
48.00%
Schluter (Dem)
Nate Schluter (Dem)
671
1.00%
Kern (Dem)
AJ Kern (Dem)
519
1.00%
Ross (Dem)
Albert Ross (Dem)
477
1.00%
Full Results
U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 5 – GOP
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:08
Precincts Reporting: 217 of 217 | 100.00 %
Votes
Davis (GOP)
Cicely Davis (GOP)
4,765
48.00%
White (GOP)
Royce White (GOP)
3,689
37.00%
Gaskin (GOP)
Guy Gaskin (GOP)
1,476
15.00%
Full Results
U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 1 – SPECIAL ELECTION
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:09
Precincts Reporting: 726 of 726 | 100.00 %
Votes
Finstad (GOP)
Brad Finstad (GOP)
59,797
51.00%
Ettinger (Dem)
Jeff Ettinger (Dem)
55,053
47.00%
Reisdorf (LMN)
Richard Reisdorf (LMN)
1,534
1.00%
McClellan (RP)
Haroun McClellan (RP)
865
1.00%
Full Results

If using the KSTP app, click here.


Follow the links below to specific results sections:


Read more about specific races via the links below:


Stay with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and KSTP.com for complete coverage and election results.

Historic four-star general confirmation inspires local Black Marines

A historic promotion within the United State Marine Corp (USMC) is inspiring young Marines in Minnesota.

Over the weekend, General Michael Langley was appointed as a four-star general — making him the first Black Marine to reach that rank.

“I’m humbled and honored for the opportunity,” General Langley said, adding about the historic appointment: “The milestone and what it means to the corps is quite essential — not just for the mark in history, but what it will affect moving forward.”

The USMC was founded in 1775, but it wasn’t until 1941 that African Americans and other minorities could join the military branch. While great strides have been taken — including General Langley’s four-star ranking – there is still a long road ahead for better representation.

According to a 2020 Council on Foreign Relations report, Black men and women are still underrepresented among Marine Corps recruits.

The report also states racial diversity military-wide decreases among the highest ranking officers with about 90% of them being white.

Progress is being made the USMC tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in 2021, 48% of new recruits were from a diverse group — up 5% from 2020.

The USMC defines a “diverse group” as nonwhite and female recruits.

In the Midwest, the USMC said through scholarships and the Marine Corps Reserves they’re able to reach a wide group of people. Reserves are able to still go school and keep their job, while being part of the Marines.

Nationally, the USMC created new three scholarships in 2021 with the goal of “strengthening diversity representation.”

General Langley’s four-star appointment is also making an impact.

Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Clark Raymond, who is also a St. Paul native, already had a goal of changing people’s lives while serving — he said now that drive got a boost.

“Just seeing that somebody can achieve that feat, being African American myself, just seeing that was very inspirational,” Staff Sgt. Raymond said about General Langley.

Learn how to become a Marine here.

United’s Dayne St. Clair MVP in MLS All-Stars 2-1 win over Liga MX

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Dayne St. Clair entered the interview room, wearing a smile as bright as his orange goalkeeper’s jersey and clutching a crystal trophy after helping the MLS All-Stars beat Liga MX.Coach Adrian Heath said slyly, “What did you win?”“MVP,” St. Clair coolly replied, relishing the honor in his team Minnesota United’s home stadium.Carlos Vela scored in the third minute and Raúl Ruidíaz converted a penalty kick in the 73rd minute in the Major League Soccer All-Star team’s 2-1 victory over Mexico’s Liga MX on Wednesday night.Vela, the versatile Los Angeles FC forward who led MLS with 34 goals in 2019, headed in the early goal off a crossing pass by LAFC teammate Diego Palacios. Ruidíaz padded the lead after Carles Gil drew a penalty, sending his free shot to the lower right corner to elicit a roar from the sellout crowd of 19,797 at Allianz Field.Kevin Álvarez scored for Liga MX with a rocket from outside the box in the 83rd minute that sailed past diving goalie Sean Johnson. That brought the thousands of Mexicans in attendance to life, and they were just as loud as the Americans, but the work done in the net by Andre Blake and St. Clair over the first two-thirds of the game paid off.St. Clair entered in the 32nd minute to sub for Andre Blake and made four saves, including a diving stop to block a header in the 44th minute. Liga MX had a 7-2 edge in shots on target, took seven corners to one for MLS and had a 52% possession rate, so the goalkeeping“I was definitely a little bit surprised,” St. Clair said. “Normally it’s the guys who contribute to the goals who get the award, but I’m definitely very happy.”Minnesota United, nicknamed the Loons by the club’s ardent supporters, had Heath, St. Clair and starting midfielder Emanuel Reynoso represented on the team.“Truly an honor to be able to have a performance like this in front of the fans that support us every week,” said St. Clair, who is tied for second in MLS with 79 saves in 22 games. “I always knew I was capable of putting forth these performances on this stage.”This was the second edition of this format for the MLS All-Star game, setting it apart from the other major U.S.-based pro sports leagues. The MLS team beat Liga MX on penalty kicks in Los Angeles last year after a 1-1 draw in regulation. The MLS has not committed to an All-Star rematch.The two leagues are more business partners than fierce rivals, with only one Mexican player in the starting Liga MX lineup: Fernando Beltrán. The MLS team had Vela, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Julián Araujo, who was born in the U.S. and has dual nationality.But the MLS, which was formed more than 50 years after Liga MX, certainly will take another sign that it’s catching up to its southern neighbor. The Seattle Sounders became the first MLS club to defeat a Liga MX team for the CONCACAF Champions League title earlier this year when they beat Pumas UNAM.“I’ve been in America now 13 years and this is the closest it’s ever been,” Heath said. “Every time the U.S. plays Mexico now, I’m not sure who’s going to win the game.”Next year, the leagues will compete in an expanded Leagues Cup tournament — the first to include all 47 clubs from MLS and Liga MX. The winner will advance directly to the CONCACAF Champions League round of 16.The timing of the showcase this year also created a bonus opportunity for the U.S. national team members to connect, with the World Cup looming in a little more than three months.There were seven MLS All-Stars currently listed on the U.S. roster, which has yet to be finalized for Qatar: defenders Walker Zimmerman, DeAndre Yedlin and Aaron Long, forwards Jordan Morris, Paul Arriola and Jesús Ferreira and Johnson.Zimmerman and Morris were in the starting lineup. Arriola subbed in and had an early second-half goal erased by an offside call on Brandon Vázquez, who teed up Arriola with a perfect setup in front. Vázquez, who’s second in the MLS with 14 goals, has played his way into strong consideration for the U.S. team with his breakout season for FC Cincinnati.___More AP soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsCopyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Minneapolis Public Health and Safety Committee review updates on crime from the MPD

The Minneapolis Public Health and Safety Committee reviewed updates from the Minneapolis Police Department outlining recent crime trends and current efforts to reduce violent crime on Wednesday afternoon.

According to the data, Minneapolis’s number of homicides and gunshot victims is slightly lower this year compared to 2021 YTD. Through local, state, and federal partnerships, the number of guns being recovered as evidence increased by 5% over the last year, according to city data.

People who live on the Northside explained violence reduction initiatives are vital to creating a safer Minneapolis.

“It’s scary. It’s like living in the war zone,” Ezra Watson, a Minneapolis resident, said.

Watson comes to Fairview Park in North Minneapolis to shoot some hoops and clear his mind.

“I see a lot of stuff going on. To me, it’s senseless,” Watson said.

Watson said living on the Northside, bullets become background noise, and too often, he’s caught in the crossfire.

“I was on a bus like two days ago, and they were shooting,” Watson said.

It’s a life he’s doing his best to get away from.

“A lot of my teenage years as well as my early adult years, I committed a lot of crimes because that’s the only thing I knew how to do at the time,” Watson said. “My future is in my hands, and I felt like if I would have kept going down the same path, I’d become a statistic. I wanted to turn everything around.”

Watson explained he didn’t have a positive example in his life growing up, and he’s hoping to change the narrative. “It’s either you’re part of the problem or part of the solution,” he said.

MPD and community partners have been trying to find solutions to curb crime in the city.

One of those violent crime responses is focused enforcement detail. It’s an approach that uses a blend of data and intelligence.

MPD used crime data to map out hotspots in north and south Minneapolis.

The department presented this information at the Public Health and Safety Committee meeting and illustrated some hotspots are cooling.

The densest areas of those cooling effects were in the focus zones officers spent the most time, according to MPD.

MPD crime analysts also noted increases in crime in areas outside of their focus zones during the presentation. “We’re going to continue to do focused enforcement detail because we know they work,” Cmdr. Jason Case said during the presentation.

Analysts also studied other factors that have a relationship with gun crimes and the drug trade is one of them.

The data shows neighborhoods with the most “shooting calls” go hand in hand with the highest volume of fentanyl pills recovered by law enforcement in that same area.

Watson said finding ways to tackle violence now will have an even more significant impact down the road.

“Something different has to happen sooner or later and younger people have to know that this is not the way to live. There’s more things that you can do in life,” Watson said.

Ex-officers Thao, Kueng appeal convictions in federal civil rights case

Two of the four former Minneapolis police officers who were found guilty of violating George Floyd’s civil rights are appealing their convictions in federal court.

Former police officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng filed appeals in federal court on Wednesday. Kueng was sentenced to three-and-a-half years while Thao was sentenced to three years.

Both officers could still face state charges related to Floyd’s death in a trial that is currently set for October. They’re each charged with one count each of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Another former officer, Thomas Lane, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in a plea deal with the state. He is set to be sentenced in September.

Lane was also convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights in a federal trial and received a two-and-a-half-year sentence.

In July, former officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to more than 20 years in federal prison for violating Floyd’s civil rights after also being convicted of second-degree murder in a state trial.

Brooklyn Park police stepping up community engagement efforts to address crime

Brooklyn Park police are working to redeploy more officers to engage with residents in an apartment complex as part of an effort to try and deter crime and improve safety.

“In the last few weeks, there’s have been a lot of challenges that have happened there, some tragic things that happened,” Brooklyn Park Police Inspector Elliot Faust said.

Earlier in the week, officers responded to shots fired inside an apartment building in the 5800 block of 73rd Avenue North at Huntington Place.

Just last week, a security guard at those apartments told police he shot a man trying to stab a woman.

In late July, a 12-year-old boy was the unintended target of a shooting on a basketball court at a park that borders the complex, police say.

“We had to get back on the wagon of our community engagement work that we are very good at,” Faust said. “We’ve developed a robust plan about how we are going to re-engage in that community and get back involved.”

That’s part of the new police plan developed in recent weeks to re-engage proactively with residents to develop new relationships at the complex of around 2,500 people that stretches more than 20 acres, something the inspector said wasn’t happening as much due to COVID-19.

“It’s imperative for us residents to come together and address these problems,” said Tekoa Cochran, who leads The Village BP, a residents group that focuses on livability issues, which also includes security.

Cochran’s helping coordinate an event in the coming days to bring police and residents together — to let their voices be heard.

“I see that changing the narrative, I absolutely do,” Cochran said.

There have been 243 crimes investigated, with a total of 1,578 reported incidents for officers to respond to in the area in 2022, according to Brooklyn Park Police data.

Crime statistics near Huntington Place. (Brooklyn Park Police Department)

“Aeon’s work to improve safety and security at Huntington Place includes: adding enhanced security patrols starting last summer, adding a perimeter fence (this is under construction now), adding traffic calming measures and a security checkpoint for vehicles that is staffed 24/7, and adding more security cameras. Our other efforts include services and support for residents, and collaboration with community organizations and law enforcement. We’ve seen positive results from this work… Home is a place where residents feel safe — that is our goal for all the residents at Huntington Place,” a complex spokesperson wrote in a statement.

Bishop Harding Smith is a community activist in Brooklyn Park. His volunteers work in other parts of town to try and deter crime.

“It’s so, so important,” Smith said of the new plan for the area on 73rd Avenue North. “I think it’s great now the chief is working on a plan that will be able to deal with the problems.”

St. Paul businesses anticipate big boost from MLS All-Star game

The MLS All-Star game is set to kick off Wednesday night at Allianz Field in St. Paul.

The match has brought in thousands of fans from across the country.

Some nearby businesses expected to cash in during the big game. Buffalo Wild Wings on Snelling Avenue spent weeks gearing up for the event.

“Usually Wednesday night is a slow night for us, but we’re not anticipating a slow night tonight,” Buffalo Wild Wings manager Tracy Hanson said. “We’ve added on some extra servers, a couple extra cooks. We’d rather have too many people than not enough. We’re looking forward to it.”

Businesses in the Midway area tell us soccer games have brought a lot of foot traffic to the neighborhood.

Woman sues Walmart over van fire that killed 1 daughter, seriously hurt another in Fridley

The mother of two girls who were critically injured — one of whom later died — in a vehicle fire in the parking lot of a Fridley Walmart in 2019 is now suing the store.

According to the civil lawsuit filed in federal court in June, Essie McKenzie says Walmart’s failure to monitor overnight campers in its parking lots creates a public nuisance, amounts to negligence that can create dangerous situations like the one her daughters were seriously injured in and caused the wrongful death of one of her daughters.

Fire crews were called to the Walmart just off University Avenue Northeast and 85th Avenue Northwest at around 7:13 a.m. on Aug. 6, 2019, on a report of a vehicle on fire in the parking lot. As firefighters worked to put out the flames, McKenzie ran out of the store and started screaming that her daughters were in one of the vehicles engulfed by flames.

The girls — ages 6 and 9 at the time — were pulled from the vehicle by firefighters and rushed to a hospital in critical condition. The 6-year-old died the next day, and the 9-year-old suffered permanent injuries.

Law enforcement determined that a California couple was traveling through the state in their 2005 Dodge Caravan, which they were using as a portable, temporary travel home. The night before, the couple had slept in the Caravan in the Walmart parking lot, and the next morning, used a portable cook stove to make breakfast. However, they put the stove back in the vehicle afterward before it had completely cooled off, then drove the Caravan closer to the front of the lot, parking next to McKenzie’s vehicle, and the man — Roberto Hipolito — then went into the store.

McKenzie’s lawsuit says she and her daughters had dropped off her mother and another family member at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport that morning for an early flight, then came to the Walmart to pick up some items. Her daughters were sleeping so McKenzie decided to let them continue sleeping in the vehicle while she shopped at Walmart.

About two minutes after Hipolito went inside the store, a passerby alerted Hipolito’s wife — who was in the front of the Caravan — that the vehicle had caught fire. That fire then spread to the nearby cars, including McKenzie’s while her daughters were still inside.

Hipolito pleaded guilty to negligent fire as part of a plea deal and was sentenced in August 2020 to three years of probation with a stayed four-month prison term.

In the lawsuit, McKenzie says Walmart’s policy, which allows overnight camping in its parking lots, along with its failure to monitor the camping areas and conform to state and local ordinances for camping “has created real hazards and thereby endangered the safety and health of those who shop and work in the store or live nearby.” It adds that the “unregulated, unlicensed, and unmonitored campgrounds pose a threat of illness, injury, noise, and crime to a considerable number of members of the public.”

The lawsuit also cites several state and local statutes for camping that it alleges Walmart violates by allowing campers in its lots and failing to supervise those campers. It adds that Walmart’s negligence “escalated the danger to create a foreseeable risk that Mr. Hipolito would use and store a cook stove negligently and thereby cause harm to others.”

Finally, McKenzie’s lawsuit claims that the wrongful death of her daughter, Ty’rah, came “as a direct and proximate result of (Walmart’s) wrongful acts,” as was the monetary and emotional damage suffered by McKenzie and her other daughter, Taraji.

In a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove said the company plans to defend itself against the claims.

“Our sympathies remain with the friends and family impacted by this tragic event three years ago. We plan to defend the company and will respond in court to the complaint as appropriate.”

Randy Hargrove, Walmart spokesperson

Investigators identify gas leak as cause of fatal Hopkins house explosion

Wednesday, authorities provided an update on an investigation into a Hopkins house explosion last month that left a husband and wife dead.

According to the Hopkins Police Department, investigators have determined the home’s water heater was recently replaced and a gas line was not reattached after the installation. Investigators stated this allowed gas to leak into the home, and eventually to ignite.

Investigators say the cause of the ignition is not known, adding natural gas can be ignited by many sources, including light switches, pilot lights, or static electricity. Authorities have ruled the fire as being accidental.

Authorities were called to the 200 block of 21st Avenue North around 10:15 a.m. July 27 on a report of an explosion and house fire.

The explosion and fire occurred at and in the area of the home, and the two found dead were identified as 85-year-old Herb Vassar and 83-year-old Sharon Vassar.

4 people hurt by ‘potentially life-threatening’ gunfire from 3 separate incidents in Minneapolis

Tuesday evening, Minneapolis police are investigating multiple shootings that left people with potentially life-threatening gunshot wounds.

James and 11th Avenues North

Minneapolis officers said they responded to reports of a person shot just before 5:30 p.m. along the 1100 block of James Avenue North.

The wounded teenager, who police say is 14 years old, was found inside an apartment in the area. He had a potentially life-threatening gunshot wound, and was taken to the hospital after officers rendered aid.

Investigators say an “accidental discharge” of a firearm happened when people were gathering inside the apartment. A gun was recovered by police at the scene.

No arrests have been made, and the investigation into what happened is ongoing.

21st Street East and 15th Avenue South

Just before 6 p.m., Minneapolis police say they received reports of a shooting near the intersection of 21st Street East and 15th Avenue South.

A woman with a potentially life-threatening gunshot wound was found by police, and she was taken to the hospital after aid was rendered.

Investigators say an argument between a group of people escalated into gunfire. The argument may have involved individuals who had a former intimate relationship, police say.

Officers report that the suspect(s) were gone before they had arrived to the scene.

Bryant and 24th Avenues North

Minneapolis police responded to another report of gunfire near the intersection of Bryant and 24th Avenues North at about 7:07 p.m.

Officers report that they found two men, one in his 20s and another in his 50s, suffering from potentially life-threatening gunshot wounds. They were taken to hospital after police rendered aid.

Police say that a possible suspect was seen entering a vehicle that sped away from the scene.
The investigation is ongoing, and no one has been arrested at this point.

Child, adult rescued from Minneapolis apartment fire; nearly two dozen displaced

A three-story apartment building is now uninhabitable due to damage after an overnight fire, the Minneapolis Fire Department says.

Crews saw heavy, black smoke coming from the third floor after they responded to a call around 12:25 a.m. Wednesday for the building at 3550 Penn Ave. N.

Firefighters searched for a child, who was reported to be on the third floor, and they eventually rescued the child, as well as an adult, from a third floor apartment.

The department says neither person needed to be hospitalized. Paramedics evaluated a third resident for heart-related issues, but say they also medically cleared that adult.

No other victims or injuries were reported. Red Cross assisted approximately 20 residents, children included, fire officials say.

Authorities say they called an MTC bus for temporary shelter for displaced families.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

The department is also investigating a second incident that happened just hours before the apartment building fire.

The other incident was at a vacant, two-story home on the 3800 block of Lyndale Avenue North around 7:50 p.m. Tuesday.

Crews say they found flames in the kitchen area, which they extinguished. No injuries were reported in that fire.

Two Harbors mayor recalled by wide margin

Christopher Swanson, the Two Harbors mayor who has been embroiled in controversy over allegations of inappropriate business behaviors, was overwhelming recalled by voters Tuesday.

In Tuesday’s primary election, one question asked Two Harbors voters, “Shall Mayor Christopher Swanson be recalled?” WDIO-TV reports that 86% of the more than 1,300 voters checked “yes.”

Swanson has been under pressure to resign for months after some residents alleged conflicts of interest with some of the mayor’s business ties. One citizen also alleged that Swanson used information he received in confidence as mayor to advance a private interest.

More than 500 people then signed a petition asking for a recall but Swanson maintained that he did nothing wrong and said he wouldn’t resign.

A memorandum from Two Harbors City Attorney Tim Costley found multiple instances of Swanson violating city codes.

Last month, State Auditor Julie Blaha released a report saying the Two Harbors City Council and Costley “acted appropriately” in looking into the mayor’s conduct and potential violations of state and city rules but saying a conflict of interest is something for city leaders to decide. Blaha’s office also recommended the city implement economic interest disclosure statements for its elected officials to prevent similar situations in the future.

Swanson was first elected in 2016 and reelected in 2020.

Per the city’s charter, City Council President Ben Redden will now take on the mayoral duties until voters choose the next mayor in a special election during the next general election.

State Rep. Thompson ousted in primary, Lee to face Peterson in November

Incumbent Minnesota state representative John Thompson will not be on the ballot this fall after losing in the August primary.

The Minnesota Secretary of State website shows Thompson lost to DFL challenger Liz Lee.

Lee received nearly 89% of the vote, while Thompson received a little over 11%.

Lee will now face Republican candidate Beverly Peterson.

MN HOUSE DIST. 67A – DFL
MN HOUSE DIST. 67A – DFL
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:09
Precincts Reporting: 11 of 11 | 100.00 %
Votes
Lee (Dem)
Liz Lee (Dem)
2,168
89.00%
Thompson (Dem)
John Thompson (Dem)
270
11.00%
Peterson
Beverly Peterson
0
0.00%
Full Results

KSTP’s complete election results

Finstad elected to finish out the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s term in Congress

Republican Brad Finstad will serve the remainder of the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s term following a victory over Democrat Jeff Ettinger on Tuesday in the 1st Congressional District special election.

According to the latest results – which show all precincts reporting – Finstad received 51% of the vote, while Ettinger brought in 47%.

Hagedorn, a Republican, died of cancer in February.

Early Wednesday morning, Finstad released the following statement regarding his win:

“I am humbled to receive the support of my fellow Southern Minnesotans to represent them in Congress. I entered this race in March because I believe it is so important to get engaged in the battle for the future of my family, your family, and our country. Our country faces extraordinary challenges, but I am confident that we can come together to overcome them and ensure that the 21st century is yet another great American century.

First, I ask everyone in our district to take time to remember the late Congressman Jim Hagedorn. Congressman Hagedorn fought tirelessly for our conservative values during his time in Washington, D.C. I am honored that voters have given me an opportunity to continue the fight for our shared values in Congress.

This election is ultimately about the future direction of our country. As your representative in Congress, I promise to fight the extreme Biden and Pelosi agenda that is devastating our families. I will work to slash inflation, get control of the border, restore American energy independence, and put our families first. You have my commitment that I will bring our Southern Minnesota values to Washington, D.C. and work hard for you every single day.

Most importantly I want to thank my wife, Jackie, our seven children, and our extended families for their steadfast support during this campaign. I could not have done this without them and I am so blessed to have their love and support.”

Brad Finstad
U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 1 – SPECIAL ELECTION
U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 1 – SPECIAL ELECTION
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:09
Precincts Reporting: 726 of 726 | 100.00 %
Votes
Finstad (GOP)
Brad Finstad (GOP)
59,797
51.00%
Ettinger (Dem)
Jeff Ettinger (Dem)
55,053
47.00%
Reisdorf (LMN)
Richard Reisdorf (LMN)
1,534
1.00%
McClellan (RP)
Haroun McClellan (RP)
865
1.00%
Full Results

Voters simultaneously cast ballots for the regularly scheduled primary election and chose a November rematch between Finstad and Ettinger to decide who will represent the newly redrawn 1st Congressional District for a full term.

U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 1
U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 1 – DFL
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:08
Precincts Reporting: 749 of 749 | 100.00 %
Votes
Ettinger (Dem)
Jeff Ettinger (Dem)
51,432
92.00%
Rainwater (Dem)
James Rainwater (Dem)
3,115
6.00%
Kalberer (Dem)
George Kalberer (Dem)
1,266
2.00%
Full Results
U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 1 – GOP
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:08
Precincts Reporting: 749 of 749 | 100.00 %
Votes
Finstad (GOP)
Brad Finstad (GOP)
48,292
76.00%
Munson (GOP)
Jeremy Munson (GOP)
15,212
24.00%
Full Results
U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 1 – LMN
Last Updated: 2022-08-08 10:57:51
Precincts Reporting: 0 of 749 | 0.00 %
Votes
Abrahamson (LMN)
Brian Abrahamson (LMN)
0
0.00%
Reisdorf (LMN)
Richard Reisdorf (LMN)
0
0.00%
Full Results

Samuels concedes, Omar will run for 3rd term in US House

Rep. Ilhan Omar survived a tight primary challenge Tuesday in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, defeating challenger Don Samuels.

Samuels conceded the race while down almost 2,800 votes with 97% of precincts reporting.

Omar will run for a third term in Congress after winning the primary by a 3-point margin. She will face off against the winner of the Republican primary.

The Associated Press projected Cicely Davis as the Republican 5th Congressional District nominee. She won 48% of the vote with 98% of precincts reporting.

U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 5
U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 5 – DFL
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:08
Precincts Reporting: 217 of 217 | 100.00 %
Votes
Omar (Dem)
Ilhan Omar (Dem)
57,683
50.00%
Samuels (Dem)
Don Samuels (Dem)
55,217
48.00%
Schluter (Dem)
Nate Schluter (Dem)
671
1.00%
Kern (Dem)
AJ Kern (Dem)
519
1.00%
Ross (Dem)
Albert Ross (Dem)
477
1.00%
Full Results
U.S. HOUSE MN DIST. 5 – GOP
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:08
Precincts Reporting: 217 of 217 | 100.00 %
Votes
Davis (GOP)
Cicely Davis (GOP)
4,765
48.00%
White (GOP)
Royce White (GOP)
3,689
37.00%
Gaskin (GOP)
Guy Gaskin (GOP)
1,476
15.00%
Full Results

View full election results here.

Stay with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and KSTP.com for updates on this developing news. Refresh your page to make sure you are seeing the most current information.

Ellison, Schultz to square off in general election

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has advanced to the November election after defeating DFL challenger Bill Dahn in the August primary.

With all precincts reporting, Ellison was shown to have 89.35% of the vote, while Dahn received 10.65% of the vote.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate Jim Schultz led the three-way race on the other side of the ballot.

Schultz received 52.51% of the vote, with Doug Wardlow coming in second at 34.77%.

Sharon Anderson came in third with 12.72%.

Attorney General Race
MN ATTORNEY GEN. – DFL
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:09
Precincts Reporting: 4103 of 4103 | 100.00 %
Votes
Ellison (Dem)
Keith Ellison (Dem)
378,393
89.00%
Dahn (Dem)
Bill Dahn (Dem)
45,117
11.00%
Full Results
MN ATTORNEY GEN. – GOP
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:09
Precincts Reporting: 4103 of 4103 | 100.00 %
Votes
Schultz (GOP)
Jim Schultz (GOP)
163,960
53.00%
Wardlow (GOP)
Doug Wardlow (GOP)
108,546
35.00%
Anderson (GOP)
Sharon Anderson (GOP)
39,732
13.00%
Full Results

Editor’s Note: This article previously included an image of Keith Ellison and Doug Wardlow. The image has since been corrected to show Ellison and Jim Schultz.

Walz, Jensen set to square off in Minnesota gubernatorial election

DFL Gov. Tim Walz and Republican former Sen. Scott Jensen were projected to lock in their nominations for Minnesota governor following Tuesday’s primary election.

Each candidate had more than 90% of their parties’ vote with just over 20% of precincts reporting statewide when the Associated Press projected the result.

Walz, the incumbent, is seeking to secure a second term as Minnesota’s governor alongside Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, while Jensen is looking to become the state’s first Republican governor since Tim Pawlenty’s second term expired in 2011. Jensen has chosen former Minnesota Viking Matt Birk as his running mate.

RELATED: Walz, Jensen tangle on budget surplus, public safety during first debate

Jensen rose to prominence in the GOP through his criticism of Walz’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and has harped on Minnesota’s rise in violent crime through Walz’s tenure.

Meanwhile, Walz’s campaign has called Jensen’s position on abortion “extreme” and has raised fears that his opponent would chip away at abortion access in Minnesota.

Gubernatorial Race
MN GOVERNOR – DFL
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:09
Precincts Reporting: 4103 of 4103 | 100.00 %
Votes
Walz (Dem)
Tim Walz (Dem)
416,960
97.00%
Savior (Dem)
Ole Savior (Dem)
14,983
3.00%
Full Results
MN GOVERNOR – GOP
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:09
Precincts Reporting: 4103 of 4103 | 100.00 %
Votes
Jensen (GOP)
Scott Jensen (GOP)
288,532
89.00%
Lacey (GOP)
Joyce Lacey (GOP)
21,308
7.00%
Carney (GOP)
Bob Carney (GOP)
13,215
4.00%
Full Results
MN GOVERNOR – GLC
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:09
Precincts Reporting: 4103 of 4103 | 100.00 %
Votes
Patterson (GLC)
Steve Patterson (GLC)
1,003
59.00%
Paulsen (GLC)
Darrell Paulsen (GLC)
693
41.00%
Full Results
MN GOVERNOR – LMN
Last Updated: 2022-08-11 02:18:09
Precincts Reporting: 4103 of 4103 | 100.00 %
Votes
McCaskel (LMN)
James McCaskel (LMN)
1,461
52.00%
Wright (LMN)
Chris Wright (LMN)
1,356
48.00%
Full Results

View complete 2022 primary election results

Moriarty leads crowded field in Hennepin Co. attorney primary, Witt leads Sheriff’s race

UPDATE: With 100% of precincts reporting, former public defender Mary Moriarty took home the most votes in the Hennepin County Attorney race with 36.4% of the vote.

Former Judge Martha Holton Dimick finished with a 2,744-vote lead over House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler for the second slot on the general election ballot.

Mike Freeman announced last year he would not seek re-election after running the office for 23 years.

Meanwhile, in the race for Hennepin County Sheriff, Dawanna Witt took a commanding 57% of the vote.

Joseph Banks filled out the second spot on the ballot with 22% of the vote, beating third-place vote-getter Jai Hanson by 3,142 votes.

Whoever wins the sheriff race will replace Dave Hutchinson, who announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t run for re-election after he was involved in a drunk driving crash.

View the full election results here.


The crowded field of candidates vying to be the next top prosecutor in Hennepin County will soon be whittled down to the top two.

It is the first time in decades that there’s been a competitive race to become the next county attorney in the state’s largest county. Mike Freeman announced last year he would not seek re-election after running the office for 23 years.

The race is gaining national attention because it comes with a renewed focus on public safety as communities worry about shootings, carjackings, and other violent crimes.

The seven candidates are Paul Ostrow, Mary Moriarty, Saraswati Singh, Martha Holton Dimick, Jarvis Jones, Ryan Winkler, and Tad Jude. The pool of candidates offers a range of experience, from the former chief public defender in the county to the current state house majority leader, to former judges and private attorneys.

“There’s no doubt that there will be significant changes in the office once Mike leaves,” retired Hennepin County Judge Kevin Burke said.

“There’ll be a new chief deputy; there will likely be new chief deputies in the criminal division, civil division, juvenile division,” he said. “So you’re going to see, much like the Vikings, you bring in a new coach, or bring in new coaches, you bring in a new philosophy about how the office ought to run and I think that’s what the public can expect.”

The incoming county attorney will arrive at a critical time. Shootings and carjackings have people in the Twin Cities on edge.

Plus, MPD is currently in the middle of negotiations with the Department of Human Rights that found a pattern of race discrimination.

As 5 INVESTIGATES reported earlier this year, the county attorney’s office also found itself entangled in the damning report. Investigators called the current policy of tracking officer credibility as a “systemic failure.”

“You’ve got to change that,” Burke said. “You can’t end up saying, well, we don’t know. That’s just not going to work.”

The top two candidates with the most votes on primary night will advance to the general election ballot in November.

Lower prices offer Americans slight reprieve from inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Falling prices for gas, airline tickets and clothes gave Americans a little bit of relief last month, though overall inflation is still running at close to its highest level in four decades.

Consumer prices jumped 8.5% in July compared with a year earlier, the government said Wednesday, down from a 9.1% year-over-year increase in June. On a monthly basis, prices were unchanged from June to July, the first time that has happened after 25 months of increases.

The report offered welcome news for congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden heading into the midterm elections. Biden highlighted the flat monthly inflation figure.

“I just want to say a number: zero,” he told reporters. “Today we received news that our economy had zero percent inflation in the month of July.”

Republicans, who have made inflation a top campaign issue, stressed that prices are still painfully high. Texas GOP Rep. Kevin Brady highlighted grocery costs and said Americans “continue to struggle under President Biden’s cruel economy, with shrinking paychecks, a shrinking economy and a shrinking workforce.”

The reprieve offered no certainty that prices would stay on the decline. Inflation has slowed in the recent past only to re-accelerate in subsequent months. And even if price increases continue to weaken, they are a long way from the Fed’s 2% annual target.

“There’s good reason to think inflation will continue to slow,” said Michael Pugliese, an economist at Wells Fargo. “What I think gets lost in that discussion is, slow by how much?”

Even if it were to fall to 4% — less than half its current level — Pugliese suggested that the Federal Reserve would need to keep raising interest rates or at least keep them high.

Much of the relief last month was felt by travelers: Hotel room costs fell 2.7% from June to July, airfares nearly 8% and rental car prices a whopping 9.5%. Those price drops followed steep increases in the past year after COVID-19 cases eased and travel rebounded. Airfares are still nearly 30% higher than they were a year ago.

Gas prices dropped from $5 a gallon, on average, in mid-June to $4.20 by the end of last month, and were just $4.01 on Wednesday, according to AAA. Oil prices have also fallen, and cheaper gas will likely pull down inflation this month as well, economists said.

Last month’s declines in travel-related prices helped lower core inflation, a measure that excludes the volatile food and energy categories and provides a clearer picture of underlying price trends. Core prices rose just 0.3% from June, the smallest month-to-month increase since March. Compared with a year ago, core inflation amounted to 5.9% in July, the same year-over-year increase as in June.

All told, the July figures raised hope that inflation may have peaked after more than a year of relentless increases that have strained household finances, soured Americans on the economy, led the Federal Reserve to raise borrowing rates aggressively and diminished President Joe Biden’s public approval ratings.

Americans are still absorbing bigger price increases than they have in decades. Grocery prices jumped 1.1% in July and are 13% higher than a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase since 1979. Bread prices leaped 2.8% last month, the most in more than two years. Rental and medical care costs rose, though slightly less than in previous months.

A strong job market and healthy wage increases have encouraged more Americans to move out on their own, reducing the number of available apartments and pushing up rental costs. Wall Street purchases of homes and trailer parks have also lifted monthly payments.

Average paychecks are rising faster than they have in decades, but not fast enough to keep up with inflation. As a result, some retirees have felt the need in recent months to return to the workforce.

Among them is Charla Bulich, who lives in San Leandro, California. For the past six months Bulich, 73, has worked a few hours a week caring for an elderly woman because her Social Security and food stamps don’t cover her rising costs.

“I go over my budget all the time — that’s why I had to go get a job,” Bulich said. “I wouldn’t even think about buying hamburger meat or a steak or something like that.”

Now she worries that she will lose her food stamps in the coming months because of her extra income.

Michael Altfest, director of community engagement at the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, said his organization now provides about 4.5 million pounds of food a month, up from below 4 million in January. The group has also budgeted for a 66% increase in fuel costs. That’s mostly because of higher gas prices but also because it’s now using more trucks to keep up with the demand for food.

Altfest’s own rent recently jumped 14%, he said, forcing him to recalibrate his budget.

“All these costs are going up, all at once,” he said. “The people here were stretched already.”

Last month’s modest slowdown in inflation might enable the Fed to slow the pace of its increases in short-term rates when it meets in late September — a possibility that sent stock prices jumping. How quickly and how far the Fed raises borrowing costs has significant effects on the economy: Sharper hikes tend to reduce consumer and business borrowing and spending and make a recession more likely.

If the Fed doesn’t have to raise rates as high to restrain prices, it has a better chance of engineering an elusive “soft landing,” whereby growth slows enough to curb high inflation but not so much as to cause a recession.

Still, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has emphasized that the central bank needs to see a series of lower readings on core inflation before it will pause rate hikes. The Fed has boosted its short term rate by 2.25 percentage points in the past four meetings, the fastest series of increases since the early 1980s.

Biden has pointed to declining gas prices as a sign that his policies — including large releases from the nation’s strategic oil reserve — are helping lessen the higher costs that have hurt household finances, particularly for lower-income Americans and Black and Hispanic households.

There are other signs that inflation may fade in coming months. Americans’ expectations for future inflation have fallen, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, likely reflecting the drop in gas prices that is highly visible to most consumers.

Inflation expectations can be self-fulfilling: If people believe inflation will stay high or worsen, they’re likely to take steps — such as demanding higher pay — that can send prices higher in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Companies then often raise prices to offset higher their higher labor costs. But the New York Fed survey found that Americans’ foresee lower inflation one, three and five years from now than they did a month ago.

Supply chain snarls are also loosening, with fewer ships moored off Southern California ports and shipping costs declining. Prices for commodities like corn, wheat and copper have fallen steeply.

Stubborn inflation isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon. Prices have jumped in the United Kingdom, Europe and in less developed nations such as Argentina.

In the U.K., inflation soared 9.4% in June from a year earlier, a four-decade high. In the 19 countries that use the euro currency, it reached 8.9% in June compared with a year earlier, the highest since record-keeping for the euro began.

___

Associated Press Writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

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