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CAIR, What Are You Thinking?

Plus U.S. Congressional reps micromanage Londregan case, Minneapolis City Council may fine-tune rideshare rates, and a Latin trap star will not be hoppin' down our bunny trail in today's Flyover news roundup.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

CAIR-MN Invites 'Civil Rights Icon' Shaun King to Town

Today the Minnesota branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced via Twitter that “Civil Rights Icon” (their words) Shaun King would be keynoting its 17th Annual Ramadan Fundraising Dinner this Sunday at the U of M's Coffman Memorial Union in Minneapolis. Before CAIR-MN turned the replies off on that tweet, a few dozen people had expressed outrage and disbelief, or just made jokes, about the organization's decision to embrace a figure who’s… well, who’s widely regarded as a scammer. 

King has certainly been at the forefront of many civil rights issues in recent years (he’s quite good and making himself seen and heard), and his fundraising numbers are impressive. But he’s also faced multiple accusations of mishandling funds, to put it nicely; he once bought a dog with $40K meant for the family of Tamir Rice, for just one example. The clip below gives a pretty thorough rundown of the various accusations against King over the years, though in kind of an annoying way, sorry—are we really still saying "buckle up?"

More recently, King claimed to be working "behind the scenes” with Hamas to help secure the release of two American hostages; the hostages’ families called this “a fabrication,” and last week King's “Hope During Times Of Genocide” tour reportedly lost the support of Macklemore, of all people. Should CAIR-MN snatch back the invite? I hesitate to make such a statement, since I am not a Muslim. Then again, apparently neither was Shaun King until a week ago.

UPDATE: Well, that was quick.

Craig, Phillips Butt in on Londregan Case

As a general rule, when you find yourself on the same side as U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minnesota), it’s time to reconsider your position. But Democratic lawmakers Angie Craig and (former presidential hopeful) Dean Phillips are agreeing with their colleague that Attorney General Keith Ellison should take the murder case against state trooper Ryan Londregan away from Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty. Londregan faces charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter, and first-degree assault for shooting and killing driver Ricky Cobb II last summer.

In a joint letter to Gov. Tim Walz, members of Minnesota's Republican congressional delegation claimed Moriarty had “weaponized her position against law enforcement," whatever that means. Phillips blandly said transferring the case was “in the best interests of our community”; in a more strongly worded statement, Craig said such a move was needed to “restore public confidence and ensure an objective review of the case.” In contrast, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has expressed support for Moriarty, stating that "members of Congress who don't represent Hennepin County should not be weighing in on this." 

What's got Moriarty's critics so eager to take the case away from her? They say their concerns stem from the county attorney’s choice to quit working with a use-of-force expert after he determined that Londregan acted as a "reasonable officer." Which certainly sounds like more of an excuse than a reason, especially considering the county's pre-Moriarty history of prosecutorial abuses. Taking the case away would certainly be an extreme measure—the attorney general has made such a move only twice in modern history, most notably in the case of Derek Chauvin. If you have questions for Moriarty, by the way, on this or any other topic, she’ll be speaking at Drinking Liberally at the 331 Club in northeast Minneapolis later tonight.

Mpls Council Open to Tinkering With Rideshare Rate Ordinance?

Following a meeting today, the Minneapolis City Council appears ready to consider adjustments to the minimum pay requirement for rideshare drivers that it passed last week, reports Dave Orrick at the Strib. The council will be looking into Minneapolis-specific data from the state Department of Labor and Industry on April 15, and will then decide what rates would need to be set for drivers to earn the equivalent of the city's $15.57 hourly minimum wage. If that guarantee can be met with a lower minimum pay requirement, the council could act to adjust the requirement downward. For their part, Uber and Lyft are now saying they would stay in town if the city adopted the driver pay rate mentioned in the state report issued last Friday. Meanwhile, Councilmember Andrea Jenkins has, in parliamentary terms "officially noticed her intent to reconsider the ordinance." Translation: The whole matter could be taken up again on April 11.

Bad Bunny Hops Over Minneapolis

One very famous bunny will not be coming to town this Easter season. Bad Bunny, the Puerto Rican rapper whose Un Verano Sin Ti was the biggest album of 2022, was scheduled to visit the Target Center on Saturday, in what would be his first Minnesota performance in six years. But late yesterday afternoon word crept around that the Minneapolis show would not go on, and today Target Center yanked the event from its website and Ticketmaster began issuing refunds to ticketholders. There’s yet to be an official announcement from either the venue or Bad Bunny’s people about whether the show will be rescheduled; right now it appears to be an outright cancelation. Bad Bunny performed in Denver Wednesday night and a show in Kansas City next Tuesday is still good to go, so this appears to be just about us. Maybe the Twin Cities is not yet the thriving market for Spanish-language stars that we hoped.   

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