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Minnesota roundup: Man in Wetterling case sues authorities

ST. PAUL—A man considered a person of interest in the 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling has filed a federal lawsuit against the county sheriff who investigated the case.

Dan Rassier filed the suit Wednesday assigned to Judge Donovan W. Frank, according to court documents.

Rassier indicated last September he was planning to sue Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner soon after Danny Heinrich confessed to abducting, molesting and killing 11-year-old Wetterling near his home in St. Joseph.

Rassier's suit, with his mother, Rita Rassier, as a co-plaintiff, includes county investigator Pam Jensen and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Ken McDonald, along with Sanner. The suit seeks at least $1 million in compensatory damages and at least $1 million in punitive damages.

Rassier, a music teacher and neighbor of the Wetterlings, said he had been interviewed multiple times during the long investigation.


Man dead, boy injured in Grand Rapids shooting

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. — A man is dead and an 8-year-old boy is in critical condition after a shooting Thursday in Grand Rapids.

First responders arrived at a home in the 1300 block of Fourth Avenue Southeast just before 4 p.m. after the man's mother discovered the scene and called 911, the Grand Rapids Police Department said in a news release. Inside the home, they found a deceased 29-year-old man, who authorities said lived at the residence, along with his son who had been critically wounded by a gunshot. The boy was airlifted to a Duluth hospital.

Authorities did not release the names or any other details about the incident, however Grand Rapids Assistant Police Chief Steve Schaar said in a statement: "We have no reason to believe that the public is any danger."

The incident is under investigation by the Grand Rapids Police Department, the Itasca County Sheriff's Department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The Minnesota State Patrol assisted at the scene.


Dog sniffs out marijuana on I-94 near Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—A police dog sniffed out drugs in a vehicle on Interstate 94 that led to the arrest of two men for allegedly transporting 120 pounds of marijuana on March 24.

On Monday, Kou Lor, 28, of St. Paul, and his 56-year-old father, Franck Lor of Brooklyn Park, were both charged with felony controlled substance crimes in the first degree for possession of more than 50 kilograms of marijuana. Kou Lor was also charged with driving with a revoked license.

The men were traveling on I-94 when a Minnesota State Patrol trooper stopped them for speeding and following a semi-truck too closely, according to the Douglas County Attorney's Office.

A police dog signaled the presence of a controlled substance inside their vehicle. A search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of 120 one-pound packages of vacuum-sealed marijuana, a weight total of 54.4 kilograms.

Bail for both men was set at $150,000 for unconditional release.


Teachers' union wants discipline change

ST. PAUL — Crookston, Minn., teacher Kim Davidson says she has witnessed student outbursts that seemingly came out of nowhere, such as a boy who suddenly would become upset, throw things and run out of the room.

Another student would hide under the table, scream and thrash her arms when Davidson tried to help her with homework.

"I couldn't understand her over-the-top reaction to what I believed to be a simple request," Davidson said.

Davidson later learned that both children experienced trauma.

Education Minnesota, the state teachers' union, on Thursday, March 30, told reporters that punishing this behavior by suspension or expulsion fails to address underlying issues.

A recent study from Education Minnesota think tank Educator Policy Innovation Center linked that type of discipline to racial and economic disparities among Minnesota students.

The group proposes state funding to train educators in trauma-sensitive approaches and establish restorative practices in Minnesota schools.

The group's proposal, however, did not appear on any funding bills legislators are set to finalize.


Highway Patrol looks for man who fired handgun in road rage incident

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn.—A man who apparently fired a handgun at another vehicle during a alleged road rage incident in a Twin Cities suburb early Thursday morning has been found.

The Minnesota State Patrol said the man was interterviewed by authorities and consented to a search of his vehicle. No gun was recovered and no arrests have been made pending further investigation.

The patrol said about 8:30 a.m. at Interstate 694 and Highway 120 in White Bear Lake, a road rage incident began between two drivers.

As the suspect's vehicle, described as a 2006 white Cadillac Escalade, exited White Bear Avenue, the suspect fired one shot at the victim's vehicle, shattering the victim's back window. No one was hit or injured.


Minnesota daycare provider accused of causing brain damage to 13-month-old

EAGAN, Minn.—An Eagan daycare provider is accused of seriously injuring a 13-month-old boy to the point where he suffered severe brain damage.

Mariel Alexandra Grimm, 33, was charged Wednesday in Dakota County District Court with felony first-degree assault for the alleged abuse, which prosecutors say happened Sept. 22 at her house.

Grimm's attorney Marc Kurzman said Wednesday that his client did not harm the boy. Kurzman said the child's mother told police that he had fallen in his home the day before the injuries were discovered.

Kurzman said he filed a motion in court Wednesday asking that a trial date be advanced to April 10 "because Ms. Grimm has been under a cloud of suspicion now for six months before they got around to charging."

Grimm said she was the only adult in the home that morning, and that none of the other children appeared to have unsupervised contact with the infant.

A Gillette Children's Hospital child abuse pediatrician who examined the infant said his brain injury was consistent with abusive head trauma, which could not have been caused by a short fall or injury inflicted by another child in the daycare, the complaint says.The expert also indicated that subdural hemorrhage is the type of trauma associated with a violent acceleration-deceleration event, such as a high-speed motor vehicle collision or violent shaking or throwing.