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Westminster defends actions of ex-officers sued over Taser use, releases video of Walmart incident



Westminster defends actions of ex-officers sued over Taser use, releases video of Walmart incident

A former Westminster police officer used a Taser on a 78-year-old man in a Walmart after the man tried to walk past the officer during a confrontation, surveillance video of the incident shows.

Westminster police released the video this week in response to a civil rights lawsuit filed Jan. 14 by the man, Clayton Shriver, against the city and the two former officers involved in the incident. The department defended the former officers’ actions, noting they had been cleared by an internal investigation.

In the lawsuit, Shriver’s attorneys alleged the officers used excessive force and unfairly prosecuted Shriver, and said the Westminster Police Department failed to properly train them.

Both of the officers involved, Michael Owen and Tyler Farson, resigned from the department in 2021 for reasons not connected to the incident, Westminster police spokeswoman Cheri Spottke said in a news release.

The officers contacted Shriver on May 15, 2020, in a Westminster Walmart after McDonald’s employees reported he would not leave the restaurant, which is located inside the Walmart. The McDonald’s employees told police that Shriver refused to leave the seating area, which was closed to customers due to COVID-19, and was acting aggressively and yelling profanities, according to Owen’s report on the incident, obtained by The Denver Post through a records request.

Shriver was experiencing a health crisis at the time of the incident, according to his lawsuit. He couldn’t understand what the restaurant employees were saying and subsequently began raising his voice. Shriver has medical and emotional health issues including traumatic brain injuries, memory loss, hearing loss and a mood disorder, the lawsuit states. He was sitting in the McDonald’s while his partner shopped because he didn’t feel well, according to the lawsuit.

Surveillance video shows Owen speaking with Shriver for about a minute before Shriver stood up and walked quickly toward the officer. Both Shriver and Owen said Shriver was trying to leave the McDonald’s. Owen wrote in his report that he stopped Shriver from leaving because he wasn’t sure whether a crime had been committed and whether he needed to arrest Shriver.

Owen then grabbed the man and forced him to the ground, the video shows.

Owen wrote in his report that Shriver kicked him in the leg, so he decided to use his Taser on Shriver. Owen used the stun gun twice on Shriver while the two struggled on the ground, the officer wrote in his report. Owen and Farson, the other officer who arrived on scene, then handcuffed Shriver and called an ambulance.

The surveillance footage does not clearly show the use of the Taser or the struggle because the group of men is partially blocked from the camera’s view by a sign and a wall. Neither officer wore a body camera because the Westminster Police Department did not equip officers with cameras until this month.

Shriver was bruised by the officers and had some bleeding from the Taser prongs, photos of his injuries included in the lawsuit show.

U.S. District Court

Clayton Shriver, now 79, shows some of the injuries he sustained during his arrest by Westminster police in 2020. The images were included in his federal lawsuit against the city.

Shriver was charged in Westminster municipal court with trespassing, obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest, according to lawsuit. Shriver was given a deferred sentence, which means the charges would be dismissed if he successfully met conditions set by the court, according to the police department. The charges were dismissed, according to his lawyers.

A Westminster police sergeant completed an internal affairs investigation into the incident after the department received notice in April from Shriver’s attorneys that he intended to sue, according to the department The sergeant reviewed reports from the incident, including witness statements, and reviewed the surveillance footage. The sergeant did not interview either Owen or Shriver.

The sergeant found the officers’ use of force to be within department policy.

“The actions of the officers were found to be legal and within policy,” the sergeant wrote in his findings. “None of the officers were found to have used poor judgment. There were no training issues present.”

A civilian review board and department leadership upheld the sergeant’s findings, according to the department.


Readers and writers: What was it really like to live on the Gibbs Farm back then?



Readers and writers: What was it really like to live on the Gibbs Farm back then?

Historical fiction about a Minnesota farm girl’s life in 1877 that celebrates the opening of the Gibbs Farm for the season and a novel that reminds us the past is prologue. Both will be launched at separate events this week.

“Grasshoppers in My Bed: Lillie Belle Gibbs, Minnesota Farm Girl, 1877.” Written by Terry Swanson, illustrated by Peggy Stern (Ramsey County Historical Society, $20)

I have discovered one way that Frank is not anything like Tom Sawyer – he does not seem to be very interested in girls. Yet, Tom Sawyer had been engaged to be married twice by the time he was just twelve years oldl! I cannot imagine Frank ever kissing a girl.

On this May day 145 years ago, Lillie Gibbs might have speculated in her diary about the doings of her brother, Frank. This is one of 138 fictional diary entries in this slender paperback, which chronicles Lillie’s life from December 1876 through December 1877, written for middle-grade readers.

Lillie didn’t leave a diary per se, says author Swanson, but the book is based on primary source material at Ramsey County Historical Society archives, including photographs, maps, programs, a personal Bible, Lillie’s dictionary and a few of her school notebooks full of essays, spelling words, and penmanship assignments, along with historical accounts from Lillie’s brother and her father’s accounting books.

Lillie was the daughter of Herman and Jane Gibbs, who acquired the land north of St. Paul in 1849. In 1949, local citizens and Gibbs family members saved the 100-year-old property from demolition, and the newly created Ramsey County Historical Society worked to preserve, study, and document the Gibbs family history. (The farm is at 2097 W. Larpenteur Ave., Falcon Heights.)

Swanson knew her subject well, because she was program and site manager at the farm for 10 seasons. Lillie loved to sketch, and Swanson felt it important to incorporate illustrations into the book. Local artist Peggy Stern sketched and painted more than 200 individual images that enliven the pages.

Lillie was obviously an observant 11-year-old, telling her diary about her week of cleaning out the chamber pots, her parents’ sadness at the loss of a son, summer heat, grasshoppers, the Easter table loaded with dishes of all kinds, attending the Independence Day celebration at Lake Como, and how sad she feels about having a fight with her best friend.

Swanson hopes this book answers the question she heard when she worked at the farm: “What was it really like to live on this farm back then?”

Swanson and Stern will be at the Gibbs Farm Opening Day Saturday, May 28, beginning at 10 a.m. There will be author talks, activities, and book signings in the Red Barn at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. Guests can also take farmhouse and Dakota lifeways tours, see farm animals, and participate in farm chores. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children over four. Pre-registration is recommended but not required. Go to [email protected]

“The Moments Between Dreams”  by Judith F. Brenner (Greenleaf Book Group Press, $17.95)

Book jacket for "The Moments Between Dreams"

‘You know how you act sometimes. How you get me real mad.’

‘I don’t irritate you on purpose, Joe.’

‘I haven’t hit you in a long while. I don’t think I have a problem.’

‘It’s an anger problem, Joe. Would you want Ellie to marry a man that beats her? Think about that. You’re a role model.’

‘Your dumb a– sets me off. There’s always a reason.’

It’s the summer of 1943. Carol’s husband, Joe, is in the military when their little girl, Ellie, is diagnosed with polio. It was  the worst fear of parents, this epidemic for which there was no vaccine and, at first, no treatment. Alone in Chicago with her daughter and older son, Carol will do anything to help the child recover from painful surgery and learn to walk with braces.

Joe comes home, and at first, things are fine as they move into a new house. But gradually Joe’s temperament changes and he begins abusing his wife to the point where he breaks her ribs and blackens her eyes. She has no idea what sets him off, so she is walking on eggs constantly. Whenever his temper takes over, Joe says it’s something she did. He refuses to let her drive their car or see her sister and brother and his wife. She can’t wear makeup and he wants to know where she is at all times. She can only leave the house to go to church functions.

At first, Carol believes him when he says her bad behavior sets him off. After all, her Catholic faith and society in general hold that the wife must do everything to please her husband. Even her priest is unsympathetic, although he can see her bruises. He just tells her to have her husband come see him and they will pray. Then, he hurries out of the room because he’s training a new altar boy. Later in the story, that priest is quickly sent to another parish. In 2022 we know what went on with the priest and the boys but, like wife abuse, nobody talked about that particular sin in the 1940s and ’50s.

Much of the book is dedicated to Carol’s passionate need to help her daughter live a full life. When Joe almost kills her, she makes a get-away plan for her and Ellie, escaping to Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. Remember, these were the days when there were no hotlines or safe houses for abused women. If Joe finds them, Carol might lose custody of her children to their father, whom they love because Carol has kept the worst of his abuse out of their sight.

When a tragedy happens, Carol hardens her heart and loses the respect of her son and, briefly, her daughter.

A pandemic. An abused wife. Fear of the disabled. Things aren’t much different now, in 2022,  even though we know more now about the signs of a controlling man.

It isn’t a spoiler to reveal that the book ends on a hopeful note as the country enters the post-war era and Carol begins a new life.

Judith Brenner owns and operates Creative Lakes Media, an editing services company. She is the author of non-fiction books, another novel and essays. She earned her MBA in marketing from the University of St. Thomas.

The author will launch “The Moments Between Dreams” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, at Edina Senior Center, 5280 Grandview Square, #101, Edina. It’s free, but registration is required at:

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Wisconsin Republicans agree on ‘no endorsement’ option for governor’s race



Wisconsin Republicans agree on ‘no endorsement’ option for governor’s race

MIDDLETON, Wis. — Wisconsin Republicans agreed Saturday to have a “no endorsement” option when voting on whether to throw the party’s official backing behind a candidate in the hotly contested governor’s race.

The top candidates in the governor’s race were slated to make their pitch later Saturday for an endorsement to more than 1,500 delegates attending the annual convention near Madison. But first, under pressure from those who argued the party shouldn’t back any candidate before the Aug. 9 primary, delegates voted to have an option of not endorsing.

Winning the endorsement requires support from 60% of delegates.

The party’s endorsement is important because it unlocks funding from the state party, which can then spend as much as it wants on the winner. Being united is all the more important when facing an incumbent such as Gov. Tony Evers in a race that’s a top priority for Democrats nationally.

The Republican Party has endorsed candidates since 2009, including the past three governor’s races. Winning that backing was crucial to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s win in his first race in 2010. Johnson, who is up for reelection this year, focused his speech not on Democrats running against him but instead defending his record and attacking the media.

“I can’t even breathe without them taking my exhalation and distorting and twisting it,” Johnson said of the media. “My race is literally about the truth versus lies and distortion.”

He called for Republicans to unify to “defeat the radical left,” likening the upcoming election to the American Revolution and a “fight for freedom.” Johnson called on Republicans to run on issues such as backing law enforcement, growing the economy and protecting the border.

The gubernatorial candidates are former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who polls show is the front-runner; construction business co-owner Tim Michels; business consultant and former Marine Kevin Nicholson; and state Rep. Timothy Ramthun.

Nicholson advocated for no endorsement, but he still wants his name in consideration.

Whether there is an endorsement or not, voters will decide who advances to face Evers in November. The primary is Aug. 9.

Beating Evers and reelecting Johnson are priorities for Wisconsin Republicans this year. But divisions within the party have been a distraction; Some Republicans have called for the ouster of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for not pursuing former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud vigorously enough.

All of the GOP gubernatorial candidates have questioned the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s win in Wisconsin.

Ramthun, whose campaign for governor is focused on decertifying Biden’s win in 2020, said recently that Vos should be prosecuted over his response to the election.

Trump will hang heavy over the two-day convention. He hasn’t endorsed anyone in the governor’s race primary, but all of the main candidates except for Nicholson have met with him to try and get his blessing.

In addition to the governor’s race, Republicans will be voting on endorsements for statewide races for lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer. The state Democratic Party convention will be June 25 in La Crosse. Democrats do not endorse.

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Vocational Education receiving prime focus of J&K Govt; 70000 students of 9th to 12th being covered every year



Vocational Education receiving prime focus of J&K Govt; 70000 students of 9th to 12th being covered every year

Vocational Education receiving prime focus of J&K Govt; 70000 students of 9th to 12th being covered every year

The move was aimed at to mainstream teacher education and curriculum reforms besides providing academic research, extension and training support in the field of school education throughout the UT.

According to official details, Skill Hub Initiative has also been implemented in 40 schools for out of school youth under Vocational Education. Vocational Education is being imparted in 714 Secondary and Senior Secondary Schools in 14 different trades across the UT. Besides, with inauguration of 626 Vocational labs by Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, the total number of this vital facility in J&K has reached to 850. The government is extending vocational education to 70000 students from 9th to 12th every year with most of them getting employment in their relevant fields.

As a part of National Education Policy (NEP), all the students of 6th to 8th have been mapped with vocational institutes to impart the basic skills of vocational education.

As part of NIPUN BHARAT MISSION, teaching learning material in the form of workbooks, worksheets and flash cards was provided to 522226 students of class I to V besides giving away resource material to 40318 primary teachers at a cost of Rs. 13.66 crore. Also, Rs. 4.03 crore were provided to DIETs to conduct training on FLN (Foundational Literacy and Numeracy) to make teachers abreast with new techniques of teaching.

Besides, 100 days reading campaign was conducted successfully in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir where more than 4 lakh students participated.

To take care of basic needs of schools ensuring that learning is not affected, Rs 45.94 crore were provided to 22250 schools as Composite School Grant varying from Rs 10000 to Rs 100000 per school, of which, Rs. 4.60 crore were spent on SWACHHTA activities in schools. Similarly, payment of Rs 47.29 crore was made through DBT into accounts of 788247 students of class I to VIII as cost of two stitched uniforms @ Rs 600 per student.

“Schools with high enrolment shall be developed as Smart Schools in the coming years, which shall be saturated with all the basic facilities, official informed. He added that there shall be no Gap in the Infrastructure and Sports facilities and teachers shall be imparted special trainings to enhance their academic standards.

To channelize youth energy, hone their personality and prepare them for future challenges, youth clubs are being formed in every panchayat of the UT with at least 5 members.

Similarly, sports and physical education grants of Rs 19.67 crore were provided to schools through district officers for procurement of sports equipment for the schools @ Rs 5000 for Primary Schools, Rs 10000 for UPS, and Rs 25000 for HS and HSS in 2021-22.

The post Vocational Education receiving prime focus of J&K Govt; 70000 students of 9th to 12th being covered every year appeared first on JK Breaking News.

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