Well done, Edina.  This grizzled old fart, who has seen pretty much everything a City Council meeting has to offer, came away feeling hopeful and encouraged that Edina will dig into its systemic racism, wrestle with it, and rework police procedure and practices.  The Mayor and Council’s acknowledgement of racial issues and apology for treatment of Thomas, and I’d say also an implied larger apology for systemic racism that needs to be addressed, went a long way to opening the “conversation” that will be ongoing.

Last night was the Edina City Council’s first meeting after the arrest of Larnie Thomas for walking while black, grabbed off the street and cited for violating Minn. Stat. 169.21; 169.02 and 609.72.  It was standing room only, and it was a thoughtful, fiercely concerned, distressed group, really tired of having to stand up to this police behavior time after time after time.  As someone who grew up just 1/2 mil from the site of the 60th & Xerxes arrest, I felt compelled to fire off a couple emails and show up at the Council meeting.

On one of the yak-yak lists, I heard there were two huge lights focused on City Hall, an ambulance parked out back, and a big police presence.  That’s not what I saw.  Huge towering lights like were posted outside Mpls. 4th Precinct?  No, no large light towers — instead, I saw two large towers for media satellite transmission, and the lot and building was pretty dark:

20161018_1858201Coming in, just as the meeting was starting, there were two uniformed officers entering at the same time, but City Hall and the Police Department are in the same building, using the same entrance at the front (there were also garage doors on the other side of the building), and they weren’t hanging out in the foyer.  The Chief was in the room seated to the left of the Council, but otherwise, nothing noteworthy.  So I think that’s a bit off.   Nothing intimidating and no police presence that I noticed.

edinacityhallpolicedepartmentWhat did happen?  It was a very long meeting.  The Council dropped the planned agenda, and shuttled it off until later, providing an opportunity for everyone who wanted to speak to speak.  And it was good.  Very emotional comments, thoughtful, heartfelt, direct, fierce, quiet, asking, demanding change, and not just words, but that Edina walk the walk. There were hours and hours of comments.  Although people were standing at the back and sides and sitting on the floor in the aisle, a man at the entrance pointed out a couple seats still open, one was then taken, but one was open at the front, so I went up and grabbed it.  A reporter had been in it but was crawling around the floor shooting photos, and let me have it (THANK YOU!), and so I got to speak early on, and then left so someone else could move up and I could get back to Red Wing.  The Council listened, and listened, and listened some more.  At the end, most of them offered their perspective, a couple of apologies, and some clear direction that those facing these issues every day be part of the solution, the recognition that it was so important to solicit and take advice of NAACP and #blacklivesmatter in determining what to do and how to do it.  They heard loud and clear that there’s been enough talk, and again, that they need to walk the walk.  Next steps and a timeline are on the agenda.  Overall, this felt good.  Grizzled old fart cynic that I http://www.startribune.com/at-edina-city-council-anger-over-police-incident/397532401/am, yes, this felt good.

In the STrib:

Edina mayor, City Council apologize over police treatment

It’s hit the New York Times:

Black Man Is Arrested While Walking, and Minnesota City Starts a ‘Conversation’

NAACP’s Nekima Levy-Pounds:

“In light of the egregious incident that happened, the city of Edina responded at the City Council meeting in a way that demonstrated a level of compassion, and they signaled that they heard what the people had to say,” she said. “I have not seen that happen in any jurisdictions that I have covered.”

KARE 11:   Community weighs in on controversial Edina video

KSTP: Edina City Council Meets for First Time Since Controversial Video

CBS Local : Edina Citizens Demand Justice Following Officer Incident

MPR: Edina council hears criticism of policing in wake of video confrontation

And as this goes forward, keep in mind Edina’s Police Chief’s May 2014 comments about walking in the street:
edina_walking-in-street (Original document here: http://edinamn.gov/corecode/uploads/document/uploaded_pdfs/corecode_edina/MINUTES%20for%20May%2015,%202014_475.pdf)

Comment on the Edina site: http://edinamn.gov/index.php?section=contact-us

Edina City Council members:

Mary Brindle mbrindle@EdinaMN.gov
Mayor James Hovland jhovland@EdinaMN.gov
Kevin Staunton kstaunton@EdinaMN.gov
Bob Stewart rstewart@EdinaMN.gov
Ann Swenson swensonann1@gmail.com

Prior Legalectric post:

Edina cops going overboard

October 15th, 2016



ceamapMap from Comparative Environmental Assessment(click for larger version)

Heads up — there will be a public hearing about this line some time in the future, I’d expect before year end, but who knows…  Will find out and post here, and until then, here’s the “target” schedule (click for larger view):


In the meantime, the Draft Comparative Environmental Analysis has been released for the MERC natural gas pipeline around the south and west side of Rochester, yes, a CEA, the environmental review document tossed out in the Sandpiper Appellate Decision OPA150016-091415.

How did I miss this?  I see I’m not on the service list — anyone who comments should be.  And I know I went to the meeting and handed in comments, and eFiled as well:RRRRRRRRRR. I have two major concerns.  First, hiding the RPU gas plant that this will service; second, that if this pipeline goes in, how close will it be to existing development and will the local governments permit development over and next to this gas pipeline, as has been done in Kasson and Byron, to name a few.  This is a serious problem and they’d better consider it.

Documents I’d entered in support of Comments at the Scoping meeting back in February:

Sandpiper Appellate Decision-CEA_20165-120948-01 (filed multiple times, ???)

RPU_2012 Infrastructure Update_2012  20164-120802-01

RPU chooses Boldt to build new $62 million power plant 20164-120796-01

Safe separation distances from natural gas transmission pipelines_20164-120797-01

A model for sizing high consequence areas with natural gas pipelines_20164-120800-01

Anyway, looking at the public comments regarding the CEA, PUBLIC COMMENTS HERE, I see that yes, they’re planning on routing this through an area that’s going to be a subdivision, now in the permitting process.  The developers have raised concerns.  ???  There should be awareness that platting over a pipeline is a major liability exposure for the permit granting jurisdiciton and whoever builds next to a pipeline, what with such broad burn zones.  Once more with feeling:

This MERC pipeline is to support the natural gas plant on the west side of town, and as I’d noted before in an earlier post, with some links to primary documents:

First they brought it up at Rochester Public Utilities Board meetings over the summer [2015]:

PUB- Resolution 4315 – Resolution: West Side Energy Station

Westside Energy Station Epc – Bids in Minnesota

And finally, last week, RPU made it’s plans to add new natural gas generation VERY public:

A New Generating Station for Rochester

Back in that CapX 2020 Certificate of Need proceeding (PUC Docket 06-1115) it was an issue because the “need” used to justify CapX 2020 transmission to Rochester was so very small that it could be met with this RPU planned natural gas plant.  Here’s what I wrote in the 2008 No CapX 2020 Initial Brief:

Most importantly, the need is overstated. In addition to modeling performed with all local generation off line, infrastructure planned was not considered. For example, in Rochester, there are FOUR 161kV lines planned that were not taken into consideration, and which could well serve Rochester’s needs. In addition, RPU, the Rochester utility, has planned for new generation at the West Side substation (Ex. 100, lower left corner), where two of those four lines will be connection to serve Rochester. Ex. 157, Report on the Electric Utility Baseline Strategy for 2005-2030 Electric Infrastructure, June 2005, Summary p. S-21-S-22. Specifically, this report recommends actions that have been taken by RPU, resulting in the Westside Substation and transmission from it to serve the city:

Consider taking options on approximately 100 acres of land within the RPU service territory near a high pressure gas line and transmission facilities under RPU control for installation of future combustion turbine capacity.

…Around 2014, assuming that new generation is required in accordance with the long range plan and that generation has not been installed in connection with the transmission issue, begin the process for installation of approximately 50-100MW of natural gas-fired generation for an inservice date of 2018. The generation should be low capital cost with as low an operating cost as is consistent with expected operating capacity factors.  Id.

Local load as a reason for CapX is not supported by the evidence. The need, even if assumed, can be met in other ways, and these small amounts, if assumed in its entirety, cannot justify a project of this size.

Edina cops going overboard

October 15th, 2016

Another update:  Charges HAVE been dropped.  DONE!

UPDATE — not nearly enough:

Monday, October 17, 2016

City of Edina responds to NAACP Minneapolis

Edina, Minn., Oct. 17, 2016 – Today, Edina Mayor Jim Hovland, City Manager Scott Neal and Police Chief Dave Nelson responded to requests from the NAACP Minneapolis regarding a recent police incident.

Just before noon Oct. 12, an Edina Police Officer observed and stopped Larnie Thomas, who was walking in the southbound lane of traffic on Xerxes Avenue. Thomas was detained at the scene. People across the country are expressing concern about how he was treated by Edina Police.

On Sunday, Oct. 16, Hovland issued a statement, saying that “the officer involved was following established protocol. However, under the circumstances, the City will review that protocol and determine how to better approach this type of incident with greater sensitivity in the future. We will work with the Edina community and invite other organizations to participate in this very important conversation. There are lessons we should and will learn from this experience.” The Mayor also said that in the public’s interest, the citation issued to Thomas will be dismissed.

Over the weekend, the NAACP Minneapolis through a press release and social media posts made six requests of Edina. Following are those requests and Edina’s response:

Yes. The City of Edina will ask the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to conduct an independent investigation of this incident.

Lt. Tim Olson will remain on the job. He and all officers involved followed the Police Department’s established procedures and the incident ended safely.

The City invites Minneapolis NAACP to talk with staff more about this and how the data would be collected and used.

The City of Edina believes the officers involved followed established protocol. The City will review that protocol and determine how to better approach this type of incident with greater sensitivity in the future. There are lessons we should and will learn from this experience, and we will invite the community to participate in this discussion.

Yes. We will provide additional training to Edina Police officers on implicit and explicit bias. We would value suggestions for specific training from the Minneapolis NAACP.

The City of Edina will work with the community to review the report by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, as well as its own practices and protocols. We will also closely monitor the ongoing work of the Governor’s Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations.


A black man arrested at 59th & Xerxes in Edina for walking while black, in the street because the sidewalks are under construction, and charged with disorderly conduct and pedestrian failure to obey a traffic signal.  His fear is palpable, and his frustration at the cop’s actions are reasonable given that he was grabbed by Lt. T.F. Olson while walking around the construction area.  What’s a Lieutenant doing arresting a guy walking down the street? What would have happened had this not been filmed?  And look at his approach of the woman with the camera, look at his stare, his request for her name and address — that’s a blatant attempt at intimidation, not OK.  Kudos that she continued filming and stood up, gave her name and address.  And thank you, thank you, thank you, for making this video public.

Larnie Thomas was arrested for violation of Minnesota Statutes 169.21; 169.02; and 609.72
. Click on statute number for link.


Apparently, in May 2014, Edina’s chief of police told the City’s Transportation Commission that he did not consider walking in the street to be dangerous behavior and would not attempt to cite for minor infractions related to it. (Original document here: http://edinamn.gov/corecode/uploads/document/uploaded_pdfs/corecode_edina/MINUTES%20for%20May%2015,%202014_475.pdf)

That police officer has been around the block, he’s got grey hair and is a Lieutenant, and should know better than to do this.  On seeing the camera, he should have known that his behavior would be public, and where his conscience and training didn’t kick in, the public nature of his actions should have stopped it right there.  But noooooo… and he radios for help, and another unmarked and marked car and plainclothes and uniformed cops show up.  They handcuff him and toss him in the car.  WHAT?!?!

That’s just 1/2 mile from where I grew up at 60th and Oliver.  And if he were on the other side of the street, he would have been in Minneapolis, and Edina cops would have had no jurisdiction.

Comment on the Edina site: http://edinamn.gov/index.php?section=contact-us

Edina City Council members:

Mary Brindle mbrindle@EdinaMN.gov
Mayor James Hovland jhovland@EdinaMN.gov
Kevin Staunton kstaunton@EdinaMN.gov
Bob Stewart rstewart@EdinaMN.gov
Ann Swenson swensonann1@gmail.com


Here’s Lt. Olsen’s contact info — be cool, no threats:
Timothy Olson Lieutenant 952-826-0490 TOlson@EdinaMN.gov

The next open Edina City Council meeting is Tuesday, October 18th at 7PM. 4801 W. 50th Street, Edina.


In the STrib:

Video of Edina police officer confronting a black man goes viral

From Fox9 News, the “full narrative” of police report, and note this part, where he says, “Thomas disregarded my commands, while continuing to walk southbound, into the traffic lane and around a parked vehicle. I noted Thomas’s response to the event to be unusual and extremely confrontational given the simple and basic request for compliance.” Makes no sense, walking away is NOT “extremely confrontational” is it:

Full narrative of police reportOn 10/12/16 at approximately 11:46, I, Lieutenant T. Olson was on duty, in the City of Edina, dressed in plain clothes and driving an unmarked police vehicle. I was driving northbound on Xerxes at west 60th Street. I observed ahead of me, a man, later identified as the defendant, Larnie Thomas, walking southbound on Xerxes in the southbound lane of traffic. I observed there was a new sidewalk on the west side of Xerxes which, with the exception of cut-ins for private property connections to the trunk sidewalk, appeared to be completed. I also observed a paved shoulder, approximately 8-feet wide, on the west side of Xerxes and a sidewalk on the east side of the street. As I drove north in the direction of Thomas, I observed he continued to walk southbound, approximately 1/3 the way into the southbound traffic lane of Xerxes. I observed Thomas`s actions were obstructing southbound vehicular traffic as vehicles slowed to a walking pace while stacking up behind Thomas.

As I neared Thomas, I observed he was wearing headphones over his ears. I watched as several vehicles crossed over the double painted yellow line, into the northbound lane in attempt to drive around Thomas. I observed Thomas look in the direction of the vehicles as they passed him. I observed Thomas move slightly to the right of the traffic lane, then move back to his position in the roadway. Based on these observations, it appeared likely Thomas should have been aware he was in the roadway and causing an obstruction to vehicular traffic. I am aware that Xerxes Ave is a highly traveled feeder street. I believed Thomas was creating a risk to his safety and the others and it was prudent to advise him to get out of the road. I drove north, past Thomas a distance, activated my emergency lights and conducted a U-turn. As I neared Thomas, aware he was wearing headphones,I tapped my squad siren. Thomas didn’t respond.

As I approached closer I again tapped my siren. This time Thomas turned, looked at me, turned back around and continued walking south in the lane of traffic. I again tapped my siren, to which Thomas did not turn, but continued his walk.

I drove around Thomas to a position approximately 15 feet in front of him. I turned and canted my squad to the right in a manner to block Thomas from continuing south in the traffic lane. Thomas walked up to and around the passenger`s side of my squad. Thomas looked at me as he passed, walked south around my squad, back onto the lane of traffic and continued south.

I exited my squad and identified myself as a police officer. I instructed Thomas to get out of the traffic lane. Thomas did not comply and began shouting at me. I again identified myself as a police officer, this time drawing attention to my police badge carried on my left side belt. I provided Thomas multiple instructions including phrases to the effect of; get out of the road, stop and return to me. Thomas disregarded my commands, while continuing to walk southbound, into the traffic lane and around a parked vehicle. I noted Thomas’s response to the event to be unusual and extremely confrontational given the simple and basic request for compliance. I followed after Thomas and continued to instruct him to stop. Thomas did not comply with any of my directives.

I reached Thomas, who had now walked approximately 60` from my original stop location, and grasped his shoulder. As I made contact with Thomas, I could smell the odor of a consumed alcoholic beverage. Thomas began to struggle against my grasp, shout and use profane language. I instructed Thomas to return to my squad.With my grasp on Thomas’s shoulder, I escorted him back to my squad. Thomas continued to struggle and attempt to break free of my grasp. As I reached my squad, Thomas slammed a back-pack he was carrying onto the hood of the squad. I radioed dispatch for assistance.

While waiting for back-up to arrive, Thomas continued struggle against my grasp and began to use very loud and profane language (Fuck, Bull Shit and Shit). I observed several people begin to gather in observation of the event. I observed individuals who appeared to have emerged from their street front homes and an individual who appeared to be filming the event. Thomas`s behavior became more volatile as he spun away from me, removed his shirt and appeared to take an offense stance towards me. I did not attempt to physically engage Thomas further.

Officer Boerger arrived on scene. Thomas was advised he was under arrest and handcuffed without further incident. Officer Piper arrived and Thomas was placed in the rear of her squad. Officer Boerger administered an alcohol breath test (PBT #8) and advised me Thomas`s results were .017.

Thomas was issued a citation (270616213232, MN 169.21, 169.02, 609.72), and, per his request, transported to Southdale Mall where he was released.


Here’s what the City of Edina released yesterday:

City of Edina, MN (Local Government)
20 hrs ·

A video of one of our police officers is circulating online. This incident started several minutes prior to the recording. During that time, our police officer observed a man walking southbound on Xerxes Avenue at West 60th Street in the southbound lane of traffic, though there is a sidewalk on the east side and a sidewalk under construction and a paved shoulder on the west side of the street. Recognizing the risk to the safety of the public, the officer pulled in behind the man with his lights and an audible signal in an attempt to advise him to get out of the roadway. The man, who was wearing headphones, turned and looked at the officer and continued walking in the lane of traffic. The officer then drove in front of the man by approximately 15 feet, to block him from continuing in the southbound lane of traffic. The man deliberately went around the squad car and continued to walk in the lane of traffic. The officer got out of his vehicle and started to follow the man, asking him to get out of the lane of traffic and stop. The man did not stop and was defiant. It was after that point that the recording began. The officer smelled alcohol on the man’s breath during the incident. A breathalyzer later confirmed the presence of alcohol.

As a bystander, it’s your right to film officer interactions. However, it’s important to note that attempting to interact with the officer and/or suspect creates a greater risk to the safety of the officer, suspect and bystanders. Public safety is our first priority. It makes it more difficult for officers to deal with the situation on hand when they are at the same time dealing with the distractions of bystanders.

For more information about this incident, contact the Edina Police Department at 952-826-1610.



Kinder Morgan, a private company, not a utility, sued to take land for its “Utopia” pipeline project.  A judge in Wood County Ohio just said NO, they cannot take land, that eminent domain is only for public use, and Kinder Morgan’s pipeline is not a public use.  This is a very hard hitting decision, and I sure hope they appeal it so we can get some precedent here.

The decision:

Kinder Morgan v PDB Farms_2016cv0220

You’ve got to read this decision — very well done!


Like wow… look at the change in October, from 538.  Can it be?  Sure hope so… just 28 days to go ’til this election, and it can’t be over soon enough.

In the STrib:

Forty Republican senators and congressmen have revoked their support for Trump — with nearly 30 of them urging him to quit the race altogether in recent days. Few of these were ever passionate Trump supporters, but the disarray underscores the predicament Republicans are in a month from the vote.

And elsewhere:

Glenn Beck: Electing Hillary Clinton ‘Is a Moral, Ethical Choice’

And this one’s old, October 3: