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Minnesota State Patrol updates guidance on reporters during protests

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Minnesota State Patrol updates guidance on reporters during protests

Credentialed members of the press can no longer be subject to Minnesota State Patrol dispersal orders, and troopers will halt the practice of photographing them before letting them go while covering protests and have been prohibited from taking other actions against the media.

“A free press is foundational to our democracy, and the ability of journalists to cover civil unrest in our communities must be protected and encouraged,” the MSP said in a statement Saturday.

The MSP began photographing journalists, their driver’s licenses and their press credentials amid widespread protests over police brutality and racial injustice. It was purportedly intended as a means to identify members of the press amid chaotic demonstrations that sometimes devolved into riots, but some members of the media reported authoritarian-like treatment.

Critics alleged that police were using retaliatory measures against journalists who covered the anti-police demonstrations, and the American Civil Liberties Union took the issue to court, resulting in a temporary restraining order.

“Any law ‘abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press’ is prohibited under the First Amendment.” U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright wrote in the order.

In addition to detaining and photographing reporters, police were accused of shooting them with rubber bullets, spraying them with chemical irritants and placing them under arrest, all in the past week during protests over the death of Daunte Wright in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.

The MSP said in a statement that it had briefly detained and released a number of journalists under the now-nixed policy but hadn’t arrested any.

And members of the press have also been attacked by the protesters themselves.

“Following feedback from media, and in light of a recent temporary restraining order filed in federal court, MSP will not photograph journalists or their credentials,” the statement said. “However, troopers will continue to check credentials so media will not be detained any longer than is necessary.”

Under the new policy, members of the force are banned from arresting or threatening to arrest members of the media unless they are suspected of a crime. They cannot use or threaten to use force on journalists who are not suspected of a crime.

The MSP will also no longer use chemical spray on members of the media and is prohibited from seizing their equipment or ordering a journalist to stop recording.

“The MSP has not and will not target media for doing the important work of showing those who are exercising their First Amendment rights to express themselves, or those who are engaged in the violent, illegal activity law enforcement is trying to prevent” the statement concluded. “Any journalist or member of the public is encouraged to contact the DPS Internal Affairs/Affirmative Action division to file a complaint of they believe a trooper has engaged in misconduct.”

The state patrol said it was advising partner law enforcement agencies of its new policy.

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Mysterious lights streak across Seattle sky

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Mysterious lights streak across Seattle sky

Stargazers in the Pacific Northwest were left puzzled by another mysterious light show that illuminated the sky on Tuesday night.

Residents in the Seattle-area posted video on social media that showed lights streaking across the sky shortly after 9 p.m.

“Anyone know what I’m looking at flying by in the sky tonight? #ufo #seattle,” one Twitter user wrote, along with a video of passing lights.

Another person said on Twitter: “Um, someone want to explain this line of lights that just streaked across the Seattle sky? #ufo”

But the National Weather Service’s Seattle office tweeted that the lights appear to be linked to an earlier SpaceX satellite launch out of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Less than two months ago, a similar light show in the same area left residents equally confused at first.

But the streaking lights were determined to be the remains of a SpaceX rocket entering earth’s atmosphere.

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California woman arrested for allegedly harrasing black delivery driver

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California woman arrested for allegedly harrasing black delivery driver

A California woman is facing hate crime charges for allegedly harassing a black delivery driver with racial slurs last month, a report said.

Julie Warland, 35, is accused of targeting Amazon driver Kendall McIntosh on April 18 as he was finishing up his deliveries in North Berkeley, KRON reported.

Warland, along with her boyfriend, allegedly confronted McIntosh and Warland accusing him of speeding.

McIntosh told the station that the couple followed him to his next stop, where Warland allegedly started screaming at him and calling him names, including the n-word.

“Instantly just started cursing me out like, first sentence I’m getting cursed at,” McIntosh said.

“I was getting just racially profiled from the jump,” he said.

During the confrontation, Warland also jumped into the delivery van and grabbed a hold of the steering wheel to prevent McIntosh from leaving, he told the outlet.

“I was just trying to do my job and she wouldn’t allow me to,” McIntosh said.

Neighbors recorded part of the confrontation.

In a clip obtained by KRON, Warland and her boyfriend can be seen approaching McIntosh in front of a truck. Screaming can also be heard in the footage.

Berkeley police are treating the incident as a hate crime.

Warland is charged with suspicion of false imprisonment, battery, using offensive words and willfully threatening a person based on their appearance, the report said.

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Murder suspect and his infant son killed in police shootout

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Murder suspect and his infant son killed in police shootout

A Mississippi man who allegedly murdered two people was killed along with his infant son after he kidnapped the child and led police on a wild chase that ended in a shootout on Monday night.

The shootout occurred after Eric Smith, 30, led police on a miles-long pursuit that began in Louisiana, where he allegedly shot dead his ex-girlfriend Christin Parker, 32, and her 26-year-old nephew Brandon Parker earlier on Monday, WLOX reported.

Smith then kidnapped the child before police located his vehicle, leading to the chase.

After crossing into Mississippi, Smith avoided a tire deflation device laid out by police and eventually stopped his car in Harris County.

With the infant inside the car, Smith and police exchanged gunfire. Smith was shot and killed.

The baby, identified as La’Mello Parker, was also struck, according to the report.

Parker was hospitalized, but pronounced dead early Tuesday morning, authorities said.

The county coroner will determine if the baby was struck by a bullet or shrapnel, the report said.

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