2020 in review: Top news, part I

2020 in review: Top news, part I Photo: KSTP-TV.

Rebecca Omastiak
Updated: December 30, 2020 04:55 PM
Created: December 28, 2020 09:42 AM

2020 in review: Here is a look at the top news events that dominated this past year in Minnesota.

JANUARY

At the beginning of the year, 28-year-old Monique Baugh — a local realtor and mother of two young daughters — was shot and killed in an alley in Minneapolis. Charges were filed against a 41-year-old man in connection with her death.

On Jan. 7, Waseca police officer Arik Matson, 32, was shot in the head during an encounter with a 37-year-old man. "This is the worst nightmare a law enforcement agency can face," Waseca Police Chief Penny Vought said at the time.

A day later, the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners voted against allowing the resettlement of refugees. It became the first county in the state and the second in the country to decline future resettlement of refugees after an executive order from President Donald Trump made it so that refugees could only move where local governments — cities, counties and states — gave consent.

On Jan. 26, the Twin Cities saw local tributes to NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, Bryant's daughter, and others who died in a helicopter crash. U.S. Bank Stadium was among the buildings nationwide that had tributes following the crash.

Additional January headlines:



FEBRUARY

COVID-19 makes its way to the Midwest. On Feb. 5, Wisconsin confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus.

In the middle of the month, the Minnesota Wild announced general manager Bill Guerin had relieved head coach Bruce Boudreau of his coaching duties. Current coach Dean Evason took over.

Authorities announced on the 17th that the search for Corrine Erstad, of Inver Grove Heights, continues. Last seen in 1992, she has never been found, and while someone was arrested and tried for her abduction and murder, the person was acquitted.

Toward the end of the month, a new bipartisan bill that would promote pet adoptions was introduced in the Minnesota Legislature. The legislation was an effort to ban pet stores from selling dogs and cats from commercial breeders. However, after the pandemic hit, it was tabled.

Additional February headlines:

Minnesotans also appreciated this satisfying video of ice cracking, courtesy of Glensheen Mansion in Duluth.



MARCH

On Super Tuesday, Democrat Joe Biden defeated Bernie Sanders in the state primary.

On March 6, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in Minnesota.

Then, M Health Fairview started drive-thru COVID-19 testing at its clinics.

Toward the end of the month, Minnesotans finally saw grocery store shelves return, somewhat, to normal as store officials said the supply chain was bouncing back.

Additional March headlines: 

This video of a Minnesotan and her parents dancing and lip-syncing brought a little humor to the end of the month.



APRIL

After Gov. Tim Walz extended the state's "stay at home" order, some Minnesotans protested outside the Governor's Residence.

What is a winner? University of Minnesota sophomore Nibir Sarma became the first winner of the “Jeopardy!” College Championship. The sophomore from Eden Prairie won the two-week tournament, earning $100,000 and a berth against regular “Jeopardy!” winners in the annual Tournament of Champions.

On April 22, Xcel Energy workers lined up outside Regions Hospital to show their support for doctors and nurses working amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and metro area landmarks were also illuminated to show thanks.

Toward the end of the month, Walz announced schools would remain closed through the end of the school year, and the Minnesota State High School League announced spring sports were officially canceled.

Additional April headlines:

Additionally, Sky Candy Studios captured drone video of downtown Minneapolis' bare streets and stadiums as the COVID-19 pandemic persisted.



MAY

"It's the right thing to do." The Minnesota State Fair board announced the 2020 fair would be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, marking only the sixth time the Great Minnesota Get-Together had been canceled.

On May 25, Minneapolis police arrested 46-year-old George Floyd after a Cup Foods employee placed a 911 call alleging Floyd used a counterfeit bill. A criminal complaint filed at the time alleged former officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck for eight minutes, 46 seconds; that timeframe was later adjusted to seven minutes, 46 seconds, though not expected to impact the criminal case against Chauvin and the other responding officers—identified as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng.

Floyd was taken to a nearby hospital where he was officially pronounced dead. The four responding officers were fired. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced charges against Chauvin, which were later elevated.

In the days that followed, peaceful demonstrations and moments of silence took place at the corner of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue where Floyd died. Chopper 5 captured video of protests throughout the Twin Cities, including south Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Civil unrest followed those protests. On May 27, the city of Minneapolis requested support from the National Guard to combat ongoing violent protests. Over 5,000 soldiers had been activated by May 30.

During the civil unrest, firefighters responded to multiple fires, including the city's 3rd Police Precinct, and there were also reports of looting. USPS announced a temporary suspension of delivery service at some Minneapolis and St. Paul locations due to a concern for postal worker safety amid protests and unrest.

By May 29, many cities and counties had declared curfews.

Also on the 29th, President Trump weighed in on Twitter about the protests in the Twin Cities that erupted in response to Floyd's death. Twitter added a warning to one of the president's tweets, saying it violated the platform's rules about "glorifying violence."

The Twin Cities community began cleaning up destruction from the ongoing riots. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS interviewed Minneapolis resident Stephanie Wilford about Floyd's death, the damage from the civil unrest and her heartbreak about it all. After 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS connected with her, Wilford said donations and care poured in for her and her neighbors in south Minneapolis.

Volunteers also donated food and worked to help neighbors clean up the aftermath of the unrest.

Additional May headlines:



JUNE

At the beginning of the month, an independent autopsy conducted by doctors hired by the George Floyd family's legal team found he died from asphyxia due to sustained forceful pressure.

In a letter to the members of the Minneapolis Police Federation, union President Bob Kroll criticized what he called a lack of leadership in the city of Minneapolis in response to civil unrest that followed Floyd's death. The AFL-CIO, Education Minnesota and other unions called on Kroll to resign.

On June 3, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced elevated charges against former officer Derek Chauvin and charges against the other three former officers involved.

A couple days later, negotiators for the city of Minneapolis agreed with the state to ban the use of chokeholds by police and to require police to report and intervene anytime they see unauthorized use of force by another officer.

On June 7, a majority of the Minneapolis City Council voiced their support for disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department.

A few days later, protesters tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus outside the Minnesota State Capitol. That same day, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo announced plans to withdraw from contract negotiations with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis.

On June 16, a 22-year-old suspect was arrested in Colorado in connection to the fire set at the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct.

Additional June headlines:



JULY

Gov. Tim Walz ordered masks must be worn in indoor public spaces across Minnesota.

The Minnesota State Fair announced an alternative drive-thru experience that would allow visitors to get a taste of the fair food they crave.

At the end of the month, Walz announced school districts and charter schools would be able to decide what model of instruction they wanted to use during the upcoming school year.

By the end of the month, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers had also issued a statewide mask mandate.

Additional July headlines:



Read part II of this report here.


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