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A Theory on Bad-Apple Cops

Plus cops finally face consequences, prep hoops racism everywhere, and unmasking Mr. O in today's Flyover.

Jenn.jpeg via Unsplash

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily 2 p.m.(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Train In Vain

How did we get so many bad-apple cops? Possibly because about one-third of the rookie apples were trained by rotten ones, KARE 11 discovered in this metaphor-free and essential story. Since 2016 almost 150 cops with misconduct histories have been tasked with training the next generation of law enforcement—including the one who murdered George Floyd in 2020, KARE reports. Lawsuits related to their misconduct have cost taxpayers $34 million, a number that balloons by $20 million if you include the settlement paid to family of Justine Ruszczyk; her killer, Mohamed Noor, was partnered with a field training officer, Matthew Harrity, who was accused in civil court of trying to “conceal the truth” of her 2017 killing. “They’re just passing those bad habits or those very dangerous viewpoints onto another officer and then it becomes kind of this vicious cycle,” Randy Shrewsberry, an ex-cop who now directs the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, tells KARE. MPD PR guy Garrett Parten declined to speak with KARE. Here’s one of the reporters, Brandon Stahl, on how the story came together:

3 Cops Guilty For Role in George Floyd Murder

Speaking of poorly trained cops: By now you’ve certainly heard that J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao—the three ex-Minneapolis cops who watched their colleague murder George Floyd—were all found guilty Thursday by a federal jury of denying Floyd of his constitutional rights. It’s initially unclear how many years they might serve in prison; all three men face another trial this June in Hennepin County District Court. “This is something we want everybody to remember: If you kill somebody, you’re going to get time,” Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said on behalf of the family. That stark new reality has some celebrating and others shaking in their service-issued boots, the Star Tribune reports. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and the ACLU of Minnesota all celebrated the guilty verdicts, while Rob Doar of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus feared the prospect of legal accountability could hinder the recruitment of future cops.

More Racism Outed in High School Basketball

High school basketball players keep getting harassed by racists. And now, after protests and students talking with the media, it looks like actual consequences could be coming. The latest incident in the state was at Prior Lake High School, where a sophomore girls’ player found a racist note in her gym bag. The school had already received media attention last November when video of one student shouting slurs at another went viral. Now, in the wake of the threatening note, the school has announced that the team will forfeit its final game of the season, and head coach Demondi Johnson has stepped down from his position. But that’s just one example of this basketball season being a mess, as both Robbinsdale and St. Louis Park announced earlier this week that they refuse to play against New Prague. What’s wrong with New Prague? First, a St. Louis Park player on the boys’ team was reportedly called a “monkey” and told to “go back to the 1860s” by NP team members. Then, hometown girls’ fans made monkey noises at Cooper High School players, Bring Me the News reports, and a Benilde-St. Margaret’s player on the boys’ team was also called a “monkey” from the stands as he shot free throws. Meanwhile, over at Minnetonka High School, a member of the girls’ basketball team allegedly called three Black students a slur and told them to kill themselves. Since then, head coach Leah Dasovich has stepped down from her position, and several of their games have already been canceled.

Who Are You, Mr. O?

Please forgive our ongoing fascination with the mayor of Two Harbors. But the slow-drip drama has been expertly documented by the Duluth News Tribune’s Jimmy Lovrien, and we think it’s worth re-telling; here’s a refresher (third blurb down) before we get into yesterday’s bombshell. OK, so, the latest development concerns the identity of Mr. O, the mysterious/alleged billionaire who serves as mentor and would-be financial backer to crackpot crypto-bro Chris Swanson, the small-town mayor with $400 million underwater Lake Superior hotel aspirations. In Lovrien’s latest, we learn that Mr. O is actually Daniel Victor Hancock, a Los Vegas felon who “has been accused of bilking a widow with the promise of gold bars in a cave if he could just get enough money to hire a geologist to retrieve them.” Decades of news reports and public records show Hancock has “lived a life of crime and deceit,” the News Tribune found, often involving the bilking of investors with his “far-fetched ideas.” Stay tuned for more outta Two Harbors.

Correction: John Ramos at the Duluth Monitor broke news of Mr. O’s identity earlier in the week. Sorry for any confusion, and absolutely check out his piece.