MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A re-structuring of the Minneapolis Department’s contract with the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation is not all Chief Medaria Arradondo wants in the way of reforms for the department.
He is promising sweeping reforms that he hopes will restore trust from the community.
Not only does he was a re-structured contract with the federation, he also promised new research to identify problem officers early and intervene.
Chief Arradondo grew up just blocks away from where George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day, and the thought of the video that shows his last moments alive still shake him to his core.
“He was expecting humanity, and it was not there for him that day,” Arradondo said.
He announced Wednesday the beginning of a series of reforms he hopes will lead to more transparency and trust for MPD’s rank and file.
“Too often historically, the union has certainly had its memberships’ best interest in mind, but if that’s the sole focus, that can be a huge detriment in terms of the public trust,” Arradondo said.
First up is a restructuring of the police federation’s contract. Arradondo wants changes in use of force, critical incident protocols as well as discipline.
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“When we have employees who are engaged in misconduct and it is not recognized by the union, and furthermore if it is fought to a level where they are back on the department and in our communities, that sets us all back,” Arradondo said.
The chief wants more than anything a department that has earned the respect and trust of the community it serves.
“People are tired. They want change, and we have to do it now,” he said.
Arradondo admits racism plays a role in American policing. He says the only way to root it out is to attack it head on and have serious discussion about its existence — and how to eradicate it.
“If we do not evolve, if we do not take on the matter of race in American policing, shame on us. But I believe that we will take advantage of the good will, the energy. We will not let Mr. Floyd’s death be in vain,” Arradondo said.
He says his department will not abandon the people of Minneapolis and will work hard to regain trust.
The Minneapolis Police Officers Federation released this statement Wednesday night, saying in part that Chief Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey blindsided them with their announcement. The statement also said that the chief and mayor may be violating “state law, the city charter, and the city’s process agreement with the Federation” by walking away from negotiations.
“The Federation acknowledges that, as a result of the senseless death of Mr. Floyd, the public rightfully expects that talk is not enough and changes must actually be made. Change needs to be made for many reasons but primarily to prevent another horrific event such as this or even less egregious types of misconduct. However, the law and common sense both require that these changes result from a collaborative effort between the Administration and the Federation.”