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John Legend Shares His Thoughts on the Hennepin County Attorney Race

Plus cops killed again, a closer look at 2021's homicide count, and cheap bus rides for students in today's Flyover.

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

A John Legend Local Angle No One Saw Coming

On Wednesday evening, John Legend—the singer-songwriter, producer, The Voice star, uncle to Gophers football player Mike Brown-Stephens, and husband to Chrissy Teigen—issued a surprise endorsement for Mary Moriarty in the Hennepin County Attorney race. "I firmly believe that district attorney races are crucial to improving our criminal legal system," Legend's Wednesday thread began. "The 5 August races I’m watching are in AZ, TN, MN, and FL." Regarding Moriarty, the EGOT winner covers the basics: "In Hennepin County, MN, there is a crowded nonpartisan election for county attorney. There are 7 candidates in the race and the top 2 will advance to the Nov election. I am supporting Mary Moriarty." He includes a link to her website, and encourages constituents to vote for her in the August 9 primary election. So there you have it! John Legend wants you to support the DFL-endorsed candidate, which you can do now, by mail or in person, or at your polling place come August 9. For more on Moriarty, you can read Racket's September profile—"Is Hennepin County Ready for Restorative Justice?"—here.

MPD Shot and Killed Man in Seward Standoff

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Minneapolis Police Department officers shot and killed a man who'd barricaded himself inside his Seward apartment. What do we know so far? Very little, and only what MPD has said, meaning the information we do have makes use of the usual passive language and should be taken with the usual skepticism. Per police, the standoff started at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night, when they got a call about shots fired inside an apartment on S. 21st Avenue. Police say they got neighbors to safety, and then attempted to negotiate with the man, calling his cell phone and bringing his parents to the scene. "After approximately 6 hours of attempted negotiations, an officer-involved shooting occurred resulting in life-threatening injuries to the man," MPD's statement reads. "The man, believed to be in his 20s, was transported to Hennepin Healthcare where he later died." Did the victim raise his weapon? What led to the decision to OK use of deadly force? We don't know. The victim has not yet been identified.

Strib Humanizes 2021’s Record 135 Twin Cities Homicide Victims

The Twin Cities saw 135 homicides last year. St. Paul set a grim new record with 38 killings, up from the previous high of 30; at 97, Minneapolis tied its high from 1995, back when the city earned the notorious “Murderapolis” reputation. Combined, those body counts represent “the most annual homicides in the Twin Cities in a generation, perhaps ever,” the Star Tribune writes. Most died from gun violence, the Strib notes, and all of them had unique stories. In an effort to personalize those victims, who are often reduced to cold, sterile headlines, the paper spent six months documenting and eulogizing them in a beautifully designed, month-by-month stream of names, faces, and, often, remembrances. The feature doesn’t fish around for desperately needed solutions, most of which are flashpoints for disagreement. It simply honors our dead neighbors in a stark, human fashion that’s rarely seen in the news media. Read the whole thing here.

Metro Transit Offers Cheaper Rides To U of M Students

Yesterday, we detailed some of the ways Metro Transit is trying to quell naysayers' fears of public transit and increase ridership for commuters in the ‘burbs. Today, they’re announcing yet another initiative: an expansion of the Universal Transit Pass program. University of Minnesota students who pay the Transportation & Safety Fee will enjoy unlimited rides using their school IDs as their bus pass. The school has set that fee at $71 for fall and spring sessions, down from the average fee of $100. “Introducing students to transit not only helps them while they’re in school… but also helps create lifelong transit use habits that we hope will continue in their professional lives,” says Metro Transit General Manager Wes Kooistra. Yes, get them into it while they’re young! The program is already up and running at Macalester College and Augsburg University; those two schools saw ridership nearly double. Other Universal Pass participants include Anoka Ramsey Community College, Anoka Technical College, and Normandale Community College, but the U is by far the program’s biggest participant. 

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