MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In Minneapolis, members of the Black community are standing behind Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.
Community leaders and clergy expressed their anger at the thought of removing the city’s first Black police chief without giving the community a chance to be a part of the discussion.READ MORE: COVID In MN: Masks No Longer Required For Student-Athletes Competing In Outdoor Sports, Practices
Community activist Spike Moss says in his 54-plus years of fighting for civil rights, the Minnesota Department of Civil Rights has never filed a lawsuit on behalf of Black people.
“The civil rights office is supposed to represent us, too. We have no authority, no power and we didn’t write what governs them, and so we are not getting our civil rights protected either,” activist Spike Moss said.
Community leaders say they believe the the department has no interest in what’s best for the community.
“You will not have us in silence, your will not ignore us, everybody is meeting, everybody is talking to us, nobody is inviting us … we have to stand up for ourselves,” Moss said. “We have to stand up for chief.”
Even after Chief Arradondo and four other Black police officers sued the city for discrimination and won, Moss says the civil rights department was silent.READ MORE: 'It Could Be A Different Place': How Climate Change Could Affect Lake Superior's Future
This group feels slighted that no one from the state or commission asked Black leaders to discuss issues they feel impacts them most.
“You haven’t heard our voice on nothing out here. You talk about what you going to do to us without even talking to us, so you going to put our committee together without even talking to us, so you don’t value us, we have to value ourselves,” Moss said.
Retired Minneapolis police officer Lisa Clemons, the founder of A Mother’s Love, says first move is supporting Arradondo.
“Chief Arradondo is being asked to change 150 years of a white culture that has destroyed the Black community, and you are asking him to make that change overnight,” Clemons said.
Then making sure everyone has a place at the table when it comes to reforms and changes within the Minneapolis Police Department.
“The Black community will be part of that change,” Clemons said.
Community leaders say if they are not heard, they too will protest like the state has never seen before.MORE NEWS: TurnSignl App Aims To Help Everyone Get Home Safely After Traffic Stops