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St. Paul city attorney’s office moves to hire 2 outside lawyers for officers in wrongful death suit. Aunt of man killed disagrees.

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St. Paul city attorney’s office moves to hire 2 outside lawyers for officers in wrongful death suit. Aunt of man killed disagrees.
Monique Cullars-Doty stands next to a photo of her nephew, Marcus Golden, before a news conference in St. Paul on Jan. 24, 2022. Golden died after two St. Paul officers opened fire on his vehicle in 2015. She is opposed to the city’s move to hire outside attorneys to represent the two officers in a federal lawsuit she and her family brought against the city. (Mara H. Gottfried / Pioneer Press)

The aunt of a man fatally shot by St. Paul officers said they should not be allowed to be represented by taxpayer-funded private attorneys when the city attorney’s office usually represents city employees in lawsuits.

But the city attorney’s office says the addition of a wrongful death claim to the federal lawsuit is a factor in presenting a conflict of interest. They say they cannot represent the officers who fired their weapons, along with providing legal counsel to the city and seven other officers named in the lawsuit.

St. Paul city council members were scheduled to vote last week on appointing outside attorneys to the two officers, but delayed the matter until this Wednesday.

“Why would the St. Paul city council write two blank checks to pay an independent law firm to do the work that the St. Paul city attorney’s office has been doing for other officers,” Monique Cullars-Doty, aunt of Marcus Golden, asked Monday. She was joined by relatives of three other people who died after encounters with St. Paul police, who also opposed the move.

The city attorney’s office said in a statement that “each (officer in the Golden lawsuit) is entitled to their own defense of their respective actions” and their office “cannot handle defense of both of them in the instance where defense of one may” work to the detriment of others. The city is required by state law to provide legal services to officers if they were working in the scope of their duties, and to cover any payment that arises from a lawsuit.

The hourly rate for outside counsel would be capped at $225 per hour, according to the resolution the city council is scheduled to vote on. The city attorney’s office does not have an estimate of total costs for attorneys.

GRAND JURY CLEARED OFFICERS; LAWSUIT CHALLENGES POLICE ACCOUNT

A grand jury cleared officers Jeremy Doverspike and Daniel Peck in the Jan. 14, 2015, shooting of Golden, who was 24, in the parking lot of the Valley Hi-Rise apartments at 261 E. University Ave., near Regions Hospital. Police said Golden sped toward and nearly struck one of the officers with his sports-utility vehicle.

Doverspike and Peck both fired on Golden. A loaded handgun was found within Golden’s reach in the SUV, according to police.

But the lawsuit filed by Golden’s family says he was unarmed. It says the officers arrived in a squad without activating the siren or emergency lights and, after the officers got out and began approaching Golden, he tried to drive around them and their vehicle.

One shot struck Golden in the forearm and the other entered the back of his skull; he died of gunshot wounds from one or both officers, according to the lawsuit.

WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM ADDED

Wrongful death claims generally have to be filed within three years under Minnesota law. The Golden family’s attorney, Paul Bosman, argued they should be allowed to amend the lawsuit to include wrongful death because of the law’s “murder exception,” which says a wrongful death claim can filed later if it was “caused by an intentional act constituting murder.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Cowan Wright wrote in a December order, allowing for the wrongful death claim to be added, that for the officers to prove their use of deadly force was justified under state law, “it will need to be shown that Doverspike and Peck had reasonable grounds to believe that the fleeing Golden had committed or attempted to commit a felony involving the use or threatened use of deadly force or that he would cause death or great bodily harm if his apprehension was delayed. The complaints do not set forth what Doverspike and Peck knew at the time they shot Golden.”

In a transcript of a 911 call, a man reported he’d been receiving death threats from his ex-girlfriend’s former boyfriend, who he said was named Marcus and “always has a gun.”

The city’s original response to the lawsuit last February said injuries or damages alleged in the lawsuit “were caused solely by reason of … Golden’s own wrongdoing and/or misconduct,” and the officers’ actions “were legally reasonable, proper and necessary under the circumstances and authorized” by U.S. and state laws.

The family’s lawsuit is seeking at least $100,000 in damages, though Cullars-Doty said it’s not about the money. “I want accountability and change,” she said Monday.

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Yankees Notebook: Aaron Judge out of the starting lineup in series opener vs. Orioles

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Yankees Notebook: Aaron Judge out of the starting lineup in series opener vs. Orioles

BALTIMORE — After playing 13 straight games, Aaron Judge was out of the starting lineup for Monday night’s series opener against the Orioles at Camden Yards. It is a preventative maintenance day, according to Aaron Boone.

”I was kind of targeting one day on this trip. I considered the [Sunday] day game [in Chicago] and he kind of powered through that. …” the Yankees manager said. “Just kind of decided this was a good day.”

He explained that between the day game, then traveling to Baltimore for a night game that Judge would get a day and a half to rest.

Judge is leading the majors with 12 home runs and is slashing a ridiculous .296/.369/.632 with a 194 OPS+.

This is part of the workload management that the Yankees hope will not only keep Judge healthy this season, but Giancarlo Stanton and the rest of their roster.

Considering they are in the middle of playing 23 games in 22 days — their next scheduled off day isn’t until May 30 — Boone is keeping an eye out to give most of his lineup a day here and there.

“I think they can all use one [as] we’re going through this stretch,” Boone said. “Judge started this stretch by playing in the doubleheader, so I mean, anytime we do a stretch [like this], I think they can use [the off day]. I think it’s beneficial and serves them well moving forward.”

RIZZO GRINDING

Anthony Rizzo began the season with a bang, but his power numbers have stalled in the last two weeks. The first baseman is hitting .143/.234/.214 with a .448 OPS over his last 13 games. He has not hit a home run since April 29 in Kansas City.

“I actually feel like the last two days have been a little bit better, and even yesterday where he just missed a couple balls. I remember at home, he had a ball on one of those windy days to center that he didn’t get rewarded for,” Boone said. “So he’s just missed some balls and I do feel like the last couple of days he’s been getting a better swing off.

“For about a week leading up to that, I felt like he was a little off and miss-hitting some balls just enough. But I do feel like he’s coming in the last day or two.”

Overall, Rizzo’s lefty bat has been a big contributor to the Yankees lineup this season. Rizzo is hitting .225/.340/.508 with nine home runs, an .849 OPS and 151 OPS+.

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Kayla McBride is back for the Lynx, and not a moment too soon

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Kayla McBride is back for the Lynx, and not a moment too soon

Already 0-4, the only team in the WNBA still winless this season, and facing a pair of tough road opponents this week in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, the Lynx will receive important reinforcements Tuesday against the Sparks in the form of Kayla McBride.

The standout shooting guard, who just won a Turkish League title over the weekend, has been activated and will join the team in Los Angeles, the Lynx announced Monday.

McBride averaged 13.7 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 38 percent on three-pointers last season. The sharpshooter gives Minnesota a needed additional scoring punch.

Joining the team just in time for a game is nothing new for McBride, who arrived just in time for Minnesota’s season opener a year ago. She immediately scored 17 points to go with six rebounds in her first game.

Until now, McBride has been supporting the Lynx this season from afar. Last week, amid the team’s early struggles, McBride tweeted: “Everyone speaking on my dawgs there in minny,” she said. “just make sure that you speaking come august too… we ain’t going without a fight.”

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Thompson Lake closed after 50,000 gallons of wastewater sewage flows into the West St. Paul lake

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Thompson Lake closed after 50,000 gallons of wastewater sewage flows into the West St. Paul lake

A wastewater sewage discharge into Thompson Lake has temporarily closed the West St. Paul lake and prompted city and county officials to urge people not to have contact with the water.

According to the city, a valve leak released about 70,000 gallons of sewage into the lake over several hours.

People and pets should not have direct contact with the lake water, including fishing, until levels can be tested “and we know it’s safe again,” the city said in a Monday afternoon statement.

Public Works Director Ross Beckwith said the sewage leak was discovered around 7 a.m. Monday after someone from St. Croix Lutheran Academy, which is just west of the lake, noticed water running out of a 15-foot-deep concrete manhole.

The leak began after an air-release valve gasket of an underground pipe broke, Beckwith said. By 8:30 a.m., a new valve had been installed.

Considering that 1.2 million gallons of sewage runs through the underground pipe each day, the leak “could have been catastrophic,” Beckwith said.

The city is working with the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of the Pollution Control to determine whether any mitigation needs to be done.

“We’re waiting for the PCA to tell us next steps,” Beckwith said.

The county has posted signs alerting visitors to not come in contact with the water until further notice.

The seven-acre lake is located just west of U.S. Highway 52 and south of Butler Avenue within Thompson County Park.

For updates as available, go to dakotacounty.us/parks or call 952-891-7000.

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