At least 13 bald eagles were likely poisoned by scavenging the carcasses of euthanized animals that were improperly dumped at a Minnesota landfill, and three of the majestic birds have died. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that state and federal wildlife officials are investigating after the eagles were found this month near the Pine Bend Landfill in the Minneapolis suburb of Inver Grove Heights. Read more: Oldest DNA reveals life in Greenland 2 million years ago Ten of the birds are in intensive care at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center. The center's executive director Victoria Hall said she is optimistic those birds will recover. Hall said when the eagles were found some of them were lying motionless, face down in the snow, and Raptor Center workers weren't sure if they were still alive. Veterinarians suspect that the eagles that died had eaten part of a carcass of an animal that had been euthanized with pentobarbital, and investigators confirmed that some euthanized animals had been brought to the landfill on Dec. 2. Hall said animals that have been chemically euthanized are supposed to be disposed of in such a manner that other animals can’t scavenge on them. Read more: Beloved monarch butterflies now listed as endangered Of the 11 eagles that were brought to The Raptor Center, three also had lead poisoning and one eagle that was found to have bird flu died. Two other eagles were found dead near the landfill. A fund has been set up to help pay for the eagles' care.
Pleas for help from Afghans have been filling up Caroline Clarin’s phone for days as she works from her rural Minnesota home and tries to provide hope to those who ping heart-wrenching messages of desperation from a world away. Since 2017, Clarin, who ran a U.S. Department of Agriculture program in Afghanistan, and her wife, Sheril Raymond, have helped get five Afghans and their families from her program into the U.S. Now they are trying to help more than a half dozen other Afghans and their families leave Afghanistan. “I’ve been getting messages about hopelessness, and waiting to be killed by the Taliban, and I said it’s not over ‘til it’s over,” Raymond said. “And as best as I can from sitting in my comfy chair in Minnesota where I’m safe, I am trying to say ‘please do not give up hope, think of your children, and hold on." Read: Taliban encounter Afghan cities remade in their absence Across the U.S., Americans are scrambling to help Afghans fleeing their country after the Taliban’s speedy takeover. Driven by compassion, those pitching in include everyone from volunteers at refugee resettlement agencies to people like Clarin and Raymond, who are helping on their own. Russell Smith, CEO of Refugee Services of Texas, said people are calling agencies like his and offering to help as it scrambles to prepare for the arrivals. Normally, he would get at least a week’s notice that families are arriving in the cities where they’ll be resettled, but that’s accelerated. “It is a little faster than we kind of were ready for, I think, probably than anybody was ready for really,” Smith said of the arrivals. Since late July, more than 2,000 Afghans have been flown to Fort Lee Army base in Virginia and thousands more are still expected. The Afghans who worked for the U.S. government and their families can qualify for special immigrant visas. Tens of thousands of others who also qualified have been left behind because of a backlog of visa applications. From Fort Lee, the goal is to move them “as quickly as possible” to the communities where they will start their new life, said Jennifer Sime, a senior vice president at the International Rescue Committee. Refugees receive temporary food and housing assistance, typically for their first 90 days, from nonprofit organizations operating with a combination of government grants and private donations. They can also get some long-term services such as language classes and citizenship classes, but they are expected to become self-sufficient. “They have to be very resilient. It’s not easy,” said Stephen Carattini, the CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, which for more than 15 years has been annually settling hundreds of Afghan refugees in Northern Virginia. “The basics, being employed, paying their rent, that has to happen very, very quickly.” The Afghans who worked for Clarin’s program in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2011 are eligible for the special immigrant visa as well since their salaries came from the U.S. military. The program hired Afghans with college degrees in agriculture and other related fields to become trainers who would help provincial governments and farmers improve their productivity and relieve poverty. Read: Race on to evacuate 22,000 Afghans by Aug. 31 deadline But many of their visa applications had not moved forward for years until Clarin fired off emails to senators pointing out the cases. She diligently tracks cases and solicits letters of recommendation. Clarin also used her retirement funds to pay for the trip so Ihsanullah Patan, a horticulturist, and his family could get out of Afghanistan. They arrived in Minnesota in May. “It’s the best investment I’ve ever made,” Clarin said, tearing up as she stood next to Patan, who has a wife and four children, ages 4 to 11. Patan, who had applied in 2016 for the visa, is grateful for the couple he calls family and says “without them, it would have been impossible” to get out. “Thank God that we are here now,” Patan said, adding that his friends were being killed because they had worked for the U.S. Krish O’Mara Vignarajah of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, which provided Patan’s apartment after the couple contacted them, said Clarin and Raymond “embody the best of the American spirit and the higher call to love our neighbors.” “We couldn’t be more grateful for the outpouring of support from volunteers, advocates, and donors from all walks of life,” O’Mara Vignarajah said. People can help in many ways, from greeting Afghans at airports and help the families navigate their new life, resettlement agencies say. Read:Defiant Biden is face of chaotic Afghan evacuation Megan Carlton, who works at Refugee Services of Texas, also volunteers her time to set up homes for refugees in the Dallas area. She just finished filling an apartment for a family from Afghanistan who moved in Tuesday. Over the years, she’s created her own network of people who donate items to furnish the homes, filling them with necessities like pots and pans in addition to extra items like paintings and vases to make it feel like home. “None of us can control what’s going on over there, but we can control this,” she said. “We can create this home.”
Elected leaders in the Minneapolis suburb where a police officer fatally shot Daunte Wright want officers to scale back their tactics amid nightly protests, leaving some law enforcement called in to assist asking whether the city still wants their help. Hundreds of demonstrators have gathered outside the heavily guarded Brooklyn Center police station every night since former Officer Kim Potter, who is white, shot the 20-year-old Black motorist during a traffic stop on Sunday. Protesters have shouted profanities, launched fireworks, shaken security fences surrounding the building and lobbed water bottles at officers. Police have driven away protesters with tear gas grenades, rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades and long lines of riot police. On Friday night, officers fired irritants into a crowd of several hundred after part of an outer fence was opened. Demonstrators dissipated shortly after 10 p.m. when officers quickly advanced. Flash bangs and sponge grenades were fired into the crowd, and several protesters who neared a group of officers were pepper sprayed. Some demonstrators scrambled through yards and over backyard fences to evade a perimeter authorities set up for a block around the police department. People who live in the area have said many neighbors are staying in hotels or with relatives to avoid the noise as well as the tear gas that seeps into their homes. “We can’t just have our window open any more without thinking about if there’s going to be some gas coming in,” said 16-year-old Xzavion Martin, adding that rubber bullets and other projectiles have landed on his apartment’s second-story balcony. “There’s kids in this building that are really scared to come back.” Also read: Former Minnesota cop charged in shooting of Black motorist The tactics have not sat well with Brooklyn Center city officials, who passed a resolution Monday banning the city’s officers from using tear gas and other chemicals, chokeholds, and police lines to arrest demonstrators. Mayor Mike Elliott, who is Black, said at a news conference Wednesday that “gassing is not a human way of policing” and he didn’t agree with police using pepper spray, tear gas and paintballs against demonstrators. Elliott didn’t respond to multiple messages from the Associated Press earlier Friday. But Brooklyn Center police aren’t dealing with protesters on their own. Other agencies, including the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department and the Minnesota National Guard, have provided support at the city’s request in a joint effort dubbed Operation Safety Net. The city’s resolution isn’t binding on those agencies. Protests have continued since Potter was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter. The former police chief in the majority nonwhite suburb said Potter fired her pistol when she meant to use her Taser, but protesters and Wright’s family say there’s no excuse for the shooting. Both Potter and the chief resigned Tuesday. Sheriff David Hutchinson asked Elliott in a letter Wednesday to clarify whether he still wanted the department’s help. The mayor wrote in a letter Thursday that his city still needs help but pressed assisting agencies not to engage with protesters. “It is my view that as long as protesters are peaceful and not directly interacting with law enforcement, law enforcement should not engage with them,” Elliott wrote. “Again, this is a request and not an attempt to limit necessary law enforcement response.” Sheriff’s spokesman Jeremy Zoss said Friday that no agencies had pulled out of Brooklyn Center. Scott Wasserman, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, said Operation Safety Net’s tactics will not change. Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat and commander-in-chief of the Minnesota National Guard, said at a Thursday news conference that he’s concerned about tactics but that police are trying to protect the community. Also read: 1 dead, 4 injured in shooting at Minnesota health clinic Tensions already were high amid the nearby trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death last year of George Floyd. Then on Thursday, Chicago officials released graphic video showing an officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo, a Latino boy, in March. And On Friday, transcripts were released showing that a grand jury investigating the police suffocation death of Daniel Prude last year in Rochester, New York, voted 15-5 not to charge the three officers involved in his restraint. Walz told reporters that protesters might have burned down the police station and other buildings if police hadn’t intervened — a lesson he says he learned after a Minneapolis police station burned during protests last year over Floyd’s death. Those demonstrations damaged more than 1,000 buildings across the Twin Cities area. “I trust our safety officials to be very judicious and think about this,” Walz said. Police say Wright was pulled over for expired tags, but they sought to arrest him after discovering he had an outstanding warrant. The warrant was for his failure to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter in June with Minneapolis police. Body camera video shows Wright struggling with police after they say they’re going to arrest him. Potter, a 26-year veteran, pulls her service pistol and is heard repeatedly yelling “Taser!” before firing. She then says, “Holy (expletive), I shot him.”
A Minnesota judge has dismissed a third-degree murder charge filed against a former Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee against George Floyd’s neck but the more serious second-degree murder charge remains.
A man was killed and 11 were injured in an indiscriminate gun attack early Sunday in Minneapolis, the same city in the US state of Minnesota where George Floyd met his death.
Following the arrest of a CNN crew on live television by police on Friday, an apologetic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz promised that journalists would not be interfered with in reporting on violent protests following the death of George Floyd.
Demonstrators marched, stopped traffic and in some cases lashed out violently at police as protests erupted Friday in dozens of U.S. cities following the killing of George Floyd after a white officer pressed a knee into his neck while taking him into custody in Minnesota.