Potter Gets 2 Years
For the crime of shooting and killing 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop last year, former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter was sentenced today to just two years in prison—a term far lower than the six to eight-and-a-half years for first-degree manslaughter recommended by state guidelines. Oh, and she was also charged with a $1,000 fine. "I recognize there will be those who disagree with the sentence. That I granted a significant downward departure does not in any way diminish Daunte Wright's life. His life mattered," Hennepin County District Judge Regina Chu said in handing down the sentence. "To those who disagree and feel a longer prison sentence is appropriate, as difficult as it may be, please try to empathize with Ms. Potter's situation."
The obvious counterpoint—one of many—is that if Potter had shown Wright a shred of empathy, we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place. Instead, a Black man is dead, and a white police officer gets her reputation massaged after killing him. In a statement, Ben Crump, attorney for Daunte Wright's family, compared the judge's comments to "those of a job recommendation," adding that "the family is "completely stunned" and "deeply disappointed."
Solidarity for Educators
Late Thursday night, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers reported that its members voted in favor of a strike. They did so overwhelmingly and decisively: 97% of teachers and 98% of ESPs voted yes, with over 90% turnout from both groups. In St. Paul, more than 78% of St. Paul Federation of Educators voted to strike. "The historic turnout proves our members have a sense of their collective power and feel the status quo is unacceptable," said Shaun Laden, president of the Educational Support Professionals chapter of MFT, according to the Star Tribune. What happens next? Not necessarily a strike—union leaders need to formally notify the districts if they determine one is necessary, and state law requires at least 10 days' notice before the strike begins. The Strib reports that the Minneapolis teachers union and the district have a mediation session today and will meet again on Tuesday.
Density Bros Rejoice!
Seven Points, the undead mall formerly known as Calhoun Square, could be getting a major renovation. A plan has been submitted to the City of Minneapolis from Northpond Partners to invest $150 million to turn the building into a multi-use property that will include 264 new "market-rate" apartments. Developers are looking to bring in a grocery store (uh, do they know that Lunds, Cub Foods, and Target are mere blocks away?), and new restaurants and retail will be moving in, too. The group also plans to bring in entertainment, teaming up with Arts and Rec, the folks behind Can Can Wonderland. “Uptown’s best energy is ahead of it,” says Northpond’s Sam Ankin in a press release. “We believe strongly that bringing new housing combined with retail and hospitality will enhance the pedestrian traffic of the neighborhood.” Will Uptown live again? Is this energy renewable? Wait and see!
Aria Event Center Finds Jesus
The North Loop is about to get a little more godly. River Valley Church of Apple Valley plans to spend a cool $10 million to convert the former Aria Event Center building into a city campus, according to documents unearthed by Finance & Commerce. The historic building, located at 100 First Avenue North, was constructed in the 1880s as a warehouse. In 1902, it was remodeled into a theater space by Cass Gilbert, the celebrated architect who also worked on our State Capitol. In 1978, Theatre de la June Lune moved into the building; that company closed in 2008 and attempted to sell the property for $2 million, but had no takers. The site would eventually go into foreclosure and be purchased by First & First for $885,000 in August 2010. The space's features include a red-brick exterior, high ceilings, and gorgeous chandeliers—that should make for a glamorous worship service! River Valley currently has eight locations, including Shakopee, Faribault, Minnetrista, and Minnetonka.
Esko Family Is World's Tallest
Let’s head into the weekend with a frivolous and fun height headline. The Trapp family of Esko, Minnesota, is really fucking tall. So tall, in fact, that Guinness World Records recently deemed the five-member family the tallest in the world, as Pine Knot News reports. The average Trapp stands 6-foot-8, though 7-foot-4 son Adam is doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Daughter Savanna Trapp-Blanchfield is next tallest at 6-foot, 8.5 inches, followed by patriarch Scott Trapp at 6-foot, 8.2 inches; Molly (Trapp) Steede at 6-foot, 5.8 inches; and tiny mother Krissy, who’s just 6-foot, 3.5 inches. The family began exploring official channels to make a run at the title two years ago, and just received word via email from Guinness last week that, "Congratulations, you're a new world record holder." Calling their towering heights a “blessing,” Savanna did share some of the downsides with Pine Knot News. “You weren't the only tall person facing the unique struggles," she says. "Finding clothes that fit, hitting your head on doorways and ceiling fans, walking sideways up and down stairs that are too narrow for our big feet. Even driving cars can be difficult. Having that family support was huge, so you didn't feel like a misfit."