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Ex-Officers Plead Not Guilty on Federal Charges

Plus Minneapolis police retreat and our mediocre State Capital in today's Flyover.

Mugshots of each officer involved in George Floyd's murder
Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

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

This Time, it’s Federal

The four ex-MPD cops facing federal charges in the murder of George Floyd had their first appearance in court (via videoconference) this morning. MPR’s Jon Collins reports that all four officers—Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng—have entered not-guilty pleas. Chauvin, of course, has already been found guilty of murder and manslaughter by a jury and sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison, and the attorneys for the other three former officers are asking their clients be tried separately from him. Per Collins: “Thomas Lane’s attorney Earl Gray says jurors will see Chauvin sitting next to their defendants: “I doubt if you’ll find anybody in that jury pool that did not know that Derek Chauvin was convicted of killing George Floyd. That’s substantially prejudicial in this case.”

Should We… All Just Stop Doing Our Jobs?

Ever get the feeling, as bullets zip around Minneapolis at a record pace, that cops have just plain given up? A new bombshell report from Reuters more or less confirms that narrative. “It’s self-preservation,” one anonymous ex-officer told the news agency. “The supervisor was like, ‘I don’t blame you at all if you don’t want to do anything. Hang out in the station.’ That’s what they’re saying.” Cool!

Folks with differing views on policing can and will draw their own conclusions from the report, but absolutely nobody is proposing: “Hey, let’s keep the same highly paid, foundationally rotted force around, but instead of stopping crimes they should sit around and pout.” That’s the potential recipe for what one Reuters source calls “a gangster’s paradise.” “[Police] don’t care anymore,” Brandy Earthman says. “They’re just going to let everybody kill themselves.”

We Get It, You’re from Minnesota

Have you ever wished for a more familiar experience while traveling by plane? Well, we have their airline for you, as Bring Me the News is reporting that Sun Country has new in-flight amenities inspired by Minnesota. That includes local beverages like Fulton’s Lonely Blonde and Sweet Child of Vine IPA, plus Caribou Coffee. There’s also a, uh, stacked in-flight lineup of iconic entertainment such as The Mighty Ducks, Purple Rain, Juno, Grumpy Old Men, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Did someone ask for this? Show yourselves!

St. Paul Ranks Mediocre in State Capital Survey

In “is this really something to brag about?” news, financial planning tech firm SmartAsset found that the city of St. Paul is the 17th most livable state capital. Wowee! Our fair state capital was beat out by places like Boise, Idaho; Frankfort, Kentucky; and Bismarck, North Dakota. The top three most livable cities? Madison, Wisconsin; Pierre, South Dakota; and Lincoln, Nebraska. 

According to SmartAsset, the rankings were determined using 10 metrics spanning three categories: employment and education, affordability, and livability. St. Paul by the numbers: 46.81 in employment and education, 44.55 for affordability, and 67.12 for livability. Overall score: 52.83. That’s kinda passing! (To put things in perspective, Madison’s scores ranged from 80-100%.)