EDITORIAL: Police reforms get bipartisan support

May 1—Thumbs up to legislators who provided bipartisan support for a proposal that would "reduce the heat" of some traffic stops like the one that resulted in the death Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center on Easter.

On a 14-4 vote in the DFL-controlled House public safety and criminal justice reform committee, members voted to change traffic stops for some warrants where arrest has been mandatory to stops where they simply give out a ticket.

Republicans and Democrats voted to include that in a larger public safety bill. Proponents noted the changes would not only "take down the temperature" of these stops but would unburden law enforcement from unnecessary and time-consuming trips to transport offenders to jail.

Wright had been "summoned" to appear in court on a gross misdemeanor charge, but the summons was sent to the wrong address, so he didn't even know he had a warrant when he was stopped by officer Kim Potter, who shot and killed him as he tried to get back in his car.

Longtime law enforcement officer and Republican Rep. Paul Novotny of Elk River voted in favor of the change, saying it will save officers time to tend to more serious public safety duties. "It's the right thing to do," he said.

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A roll call vote was not available.

Hennepin and Ramsey counties have been using the ticket-style warrant stops for years without issue.

PolyMet setback

Thumbs up to the Minnesota Supreme Court for overturning PolyMet's permit to mine in Minnesota.

It's another blow for what would be the state's first copper mine, a $1 billion open-pit mine project that would be just miles from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

The ruling says the DNR must hold a trial-like contested-case hearing on the effectiveness of the company's plan to line the tailings dam with bentonite clay.

It is a separate project from the proposed Twin Metals copper mine near Ely, which has also been set back after the administration revived the plan.

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As former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson and a host of other state leaders have said, both projects are a threat to the BWCA, Lake Superior and other waterways. Both have dangerous effluents, including mercury and arsenic, that will will leach. Neither should be allowed.

Not a joke

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Thumbs down to the vandalism suspect who admitted to spray painting hateful messages on a mosque in Moorhead.

The 22-year-old man said he wanted to see what the community and media reaction would be and "did it as a joke."

No one is laughing.

In fact, about a hundred community members took the incident very seriously and showed up to clean off the place of worship. And a local store employee reported the vandal's purchase of paint, helping lead to the arrest.

So the vandal did get reaction, but it amounted to him finding out that hateful, anti-Muslim behavior isn't accepted by the community. And there's nothing funny about it.

Part of the team

Thumbs up to the life and legacy of Michael Collins, the member of the Apollo 11 crew who didn't get to step on the moon.

While crewmates Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked the lunar surface in June of 1969, Collins orbited alone, a satellite of a satellite — a quarter of a million miles from Earth, frequently cut off from radio contact with the rest of humanity, keeping the command module going, fretting about making sure the recoupling with the lunar lander and the return of his crewmates went smoothly.

Collins did not wind up with the fame of Armstrong and Aldrin, but the mission's third wheel was a vital piece nevertheless. In his 1974 memoir "Carrying the Fire," Collins wrote: "This venture has been structured for three men, and I consider my third to be as necessary as either of the other two."

Collins, who died this week at the age of 90, went on to become the founding director of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum and a major general in the Air Force.

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