Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
I Love a Man in a Uniform
You know that Television song (just stick with me here, OK) where Tom Verlaine recalls Richard Hell suggesting “Hey man let’s dress up like cops/Think of what we could do” but then Verlaine sings “Something, something, it said, ‘You better not’”? Well, let’s just say Reyel Simmons did NOT listen to his inner Tom Verlaine. Simmons, the Minnesota man who was convicted for impersonating a federal agent on TikTok and using his stolen valor to ingratiate himself with the ladies as well, has been sentenced to six years in prison. (Simmons, incidentally, had no law enforcement or military experience at all, which figures.)
The sentencing hearing was pretty weird. The prosecutor said he should get a longer sentence because he was cheating on his wife. Bad! But also? Not a crime! The defense said he should get a shorter sentence because he was raised by alcoholics. Bad! But also? All too common, and yet, though I don’t have the stats in front of me, I think we can safely say that few people emerge from that environment to become serial federal agent impersonators. If it’s creepy to pretend you work for DHS just so you can get laid, it’s sad to pretend you work for DHS just so you can score TikTok clout.
Anyway, Simmons will have plenty of time now to listen to Television’s classic 1977 punk album Marquee Moon.
How Did the Cops Fuck Up Today, Deena?
Regular Flyover readers know what fans we are of the Minnesota Reformer’s Deena Winter. Anyone can say bad things about the Minneapolis Police Department; Winter uncovers a new, specific, factual, carefully researched bad thing about the MPD on the regular. Today she reveals that many police officers now leaving the force with hefty PTSD-related worker’s comp settlements have some inglorious past histories. Take Dustin Dupre, who’s going home with a $175,000 settlement—despite assaulting his ex-wife, despite puncturing someone’s tire in a fit of road rage, despite actually getting fired by the chief. (The union got him reinstated.) There’s lots more where there came from. (Here’s some insight into how hard it was for her to pry the information from the city.) Some publications like to gather their investigative scoops into one big, splashy, expose, but I appreciate the Reformer’s day-in/day-out, drip-drip-drip method. Every day we get a reminder of what we’re up against here.
Tribal Land Sold Back to Tribe
Here’s some good news: The Bois Forte Band of Chippewa has reclaimed 28,000 acres of historically tribal land. The land is part of the Nett Lake and Deer Creek reservations of northern Minnesota, and the U.S. sold it out from under the occupants 120 years ago. Some slightly less good news: The Bois Forte didn’t get the land as part of some apologetic grant from the government that swiped it. Jana Hollingsworth at the Strib reports that they had to buy it back, with financing from Little Canada’s Indian Land Tenure Foundation, which lends funds to tribal nations for purchases like this. The slightly better-than-that news: Conservation incentive payments from the state will partially pay back the loan. As Bois Forte member Darren Landgren puts it, “It’s complicated, but it feels good.”
Don’t Fuck With Minnesota, Brand Twitter
Look, I’m not saying a giant drive-thru suburban Taco Bell that shaves an entire two minutes off service time is necessarily a good thing, but it’s OUR thing, dammit. So last night, when a brand account for Sunny D, a product literally no one enjoys, asked a brand account for Taco Bell why this astounding breakthrough in
labor exploitation food service was in Minnesota—like we were Wisconsin or something!—well, that left a bad taste in our mouth. (Just like Sunny D itself.) This was hardly a situation that called for some stuffily miffed “How dare you sir!” We said what everyone was thinking.
(Obviously, a halfway decent brand account would have replied, “Oh yeah, how do you know what piss tastes like?” but whoever tweets for the faux-j product didn’t have in them.) So tell us, does Sunny D taste like piss to you? Or does it have some other unpleasant barely-orange-adjacent taste? Sound off in the comments. We need to hear from you on this, Taco Mike.