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Hennepin County Officials Sued for Allowing Hutchinson to Hutch

Plus two more months for the never ending rideshare clusterfuck, traffic calming projects in Minneapolis, and a 'Survivor' contestant's home is for sale in today's Flyover news roundup.


Former Sherriff Hutch, seen here struggling to control a K9 cop colleague.

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

Lawsuit: Officials Took Their Sweet Time Before Dealing With Hutchinson

For several years, ex-Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson was a one-man news cycle. In December 2021, he totaled his squad car while driving drunk at 125 MPH on his way home from an office Christmas party. There were reports he racked up over $17K on the company card. In 2022, an HR investigation detailed how he created a volatile workplace, frequently using slurs and threatening employees with physical violence. In 2023, he managed to fail upward, landing a six-figure gig with the Metro Transit Police Department before getting fired and heading out West, presumably in search of the American Dream. (He appears to have since nuked his wildly messy Instagram account.)

Now seven current and former members of the sheriff’s office are suing Hennepin County, alleging that the Hutchinson situation wasn’t taken care of quickly enough, leaving employees scared for their lives. The complaint, which MPR has uploaded here, offers terrifying new details, for example, “Hutchinson unholstered his gun, a revolver, and aimed it at employees while ‘joking’ about ‘shooting’ people.” Several plaintiffs also recount worrying about retribution and installing home security devices after receiving creepy notes on their doorsteps. Timothy Stout, the current sheriff’s chief of staff, finally resorted to calling another sheriff’s office to protect his family and home.

Plaintiffs say they began reporting his behavior in 2019, but HR didn’t take action until 2022. “I am acutely aware of the warning signs of workplace violence and Hutchinson’s behavior contained all hallmark signs of someone who might commit horrific acts of violence,” Stout tells MPR. “The county basically told us to fend for yourselves against an armed sheriff.”

This Rideshare Drama Is Never Going To End

The Uber/Lyft, Mayor Jacob Frey, and City Council standoff is dominating Minneapolis news coverage like a tired love triangle on your favorite nighttime soap—and it’s not gonna end anytime soon. The latest? The City Council plans to vote Thursday on whether or not to push the minimum wage ordinance’s start date back from May 1 to July. Uber says it would stay longer if the delay goes through; Council Members Elliott Payne, Katie Cashman, and Aurin Chowdhury hope the delay will allow new startups like MOOV, Joiryde, and Wridz more time to figure things out and prep.

Meanwhile, Council Members Andrea Jenkins and Emily Koski are looking to add an amendment that would adjust the pay to $1.21 per mile and maintain the per minute rate at 51 cents, as opposed to the new law requiring $1.40 per mile and 51 cents per minute (or $5, whichever is higher). That might be a moot point if the state Legislature manages to pass a bill that would set rates at $1.39 per mile and 49 cents per minute statewide. Uber and Lyft are hoping to pay $0.89 per mile and $0.49 per minute, per this state study’s recommendation. Yep, they’re fighting like hell over pennies here, folks. Hang in there, drivers.

This Map Allows You To Find or Request “Traffic Calming” in Your Area

Traffic calming, which sounds like a massage for your car, is actually what we call efforts to stop people from driving like jerks these days. It usually involves shaking up a street or intersection by installing things like bollards (which cars tend to drive over), roundabouts (a disorientation tactic!), or speed bumps (the original traffic calming recipe). So far, Minneapolis has decided to take on 23 different projects for 2024 construction season. But there’s still time for you to lobby online for more! You can do so via this interactive map, which is also pretty informative. There are, for example, a lot of pedestrian concerns over in Whittier, a handful of bike-related safety requests in Central, and reports of parked delivery trucks impeding visibility in Stevens Square.  

Wanna Buy This Survivor Contestant’s Home?

Dr. Peter Alois Baggenstos wasn’t a winner on 2016’s Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, but the reality TV star/emergency medicine specialist is obviously winning in other aspects of life, as evidenced by his Kenwood neighborhood Minneapolis home, which is now up for sale. The super modern 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom, 4,066-square-foot estate at 2025 Thomas Ave. S. was built in 2018, and features heated flooring, a salon-style master bathroom, bird decals on the walls, and my personal hell: two kitchens. Right now it’s going for $1.95 million. According to the monthly payment calendar on the Edina Realty site, I would be spending over 13 times what I pay now, so I’m gonna pass on this one—but it might be the right fit for you!

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