U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was probably a lot more popular with some Minneapolis residents Saturday when attorney Clinton Collins took this photo at their Harvard reunion.

Wednesday, after the Justice Department decided no civil rights charges would be brought against the Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Jamar Clark, Lynch might be less admired. Probably just as well that Collins isn’t trying to line her up to be the keynote at the Urban League gala scheduled for the end of the month.

“I also don’t have enough time to pull that off but I want to get her up here,” Collins told me Wednesday. “I told her, ‘It’s hard getting past your gatekeepers.’ ”

The USAG told Collins the magic phrase that would expedite arrangements.

“I think she was sincere about coming to speak here. She wasn’t just blowing me off,” he said. “She’s impressive. Very impressive.”

Duh. That’s the reason I asked Collins to prove to me he knew this 1981 classmate by taking a photo with Lynch. Her stock went higher with me when she started schooling her home state, North Carolina, as it attempts to discriminate against transgender citizens (now that some must be slicker about oppressing the old standbys).

Lynch has always stood up for herself and others. Collins said that when Lynch met with classmates, she told a story about her days as a Harvard cheerleader. I’m going to quote this even though I am not a fan of girls as cheerleaders.

“When she was doing cheerleading stuff it was an all-black cheerleading squad. There were some people who said, Well, you don’t look the way Harvard is supposed to look. Her response was, Maybe YOU don’t look the way Harvard’s supposed to look! Collins laughed. “She threw it back at them. The idea of having all black girls as cheerleaders [bothered some] back in the ’70s.”

Collins can point to three classmates in the Obama administration. “There’s Loretta. Penny Pritzker, who is secretary of commerce, and Liz Sherwood, undersecretary of energy. [Otherwise known as Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, who with her sibling became the first brother and sister to become Rhodes scholars.] They were there just talking with the class and hanging out with people. It was amazing. There was another guy, Saul Perlmutter, in my class who got the [2011] Nobel Prize in physics.”

Moving on from the question of what happened to Collins’ career trajectory — “Life happened to my career,” laughed Collins — he told me that he didn’t see any guns on members of Lynch’s Secret Service detail, and they gave her space to mingle. “They didn’t hover. I guess they figured these were all Harvard people. We didn’t have to go through security, metal scanners. They were far enough away where I don’t know if they were paying attention, but close enough where if something got funky,” he laughed, “they’d be there. She was never out of sight or away from them from what I saw. They were there and you knew who they were. You can see I’m standing right next to her in that picture. She hung out with her old posse from when we were in college so they didn’t get in her face.”

Collins also said, “We didn’t talk specifics about Jamar Clark but she’s well aware of all the stuff going on up here.”

The AG naturally didn’t tip her hand about the decision, which sounded about right given the forensics and the conflicting eyewitness accounts.

It’s a new day in policing the police, people. Video is a much better record of inappropriate actions by cops than what citizens claim to have seen.

Did Will Smith make last call?

By now officials surely know what caused Prince’s demise, so I wonder why they haven’t held a news conference.

Have they talked to actor Will Smith, who according to Entertainment Weekly posted this on Facebook: “I am stunned and heartbroken. I just spoke with him last night.” Was Smith the last person to talk to Prince?

Prince’s birthday is Tuesday; I can’t imagine officials want to make that day worse for fans.

Jason verbatim

“I’m really proud that we are keeping the show here in Minnesota for the test and hopefully thereafter,” Jason Matheson told viewers of “The Jason Show” Wednesday.

The markets where the Fox 9 show is being debuted to test its national appeal were announced Wednesday: Los Angeles, Dallas and Phoenix.

“Hopefully thereafter” sounds like those NYC people are whispering something in his ear.


C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.