MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Several Minneapolis police officers signed a letter Thursday, condemning former officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd.

In the letter, prominent and well-respected officers separate themselves from the union. They give full support to Police Chief Medaria Arradondo for his work to regain the public trust.

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That message is echoed by leaders within the Black community, who also want to see a change of leadership within the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation. One of those leaders is Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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“In this moments right now, they’re trying to do everything to stop a man who has been responsive to this community, a man who recognizes the pain in our community, and that’s Chief Arradondo,” Hussein said.

This civil rights coalition believes Arradondo’s leadership of the Minneapolis Police Department is needed now more than ever. Minneapolis NAACP President Leslie Redmond was on hand to voice her support.

“I highly recommend that we don’t throw away our best opportunity of transformation,” Redmond said.

Brian Herron, pastor of Zion Baptist Church, also stands behind the chief, and believes with Arradondo’s leadership they will have a seat at the table when discussions of what’s next are had.

“Don’t call us in after you already have a framework and a plan. We can help shape the framework, we can shape the conversation and we know what the changes are that need to happen,” Herron said.

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This coalition of leaders supports Arradondo’s move to walk away from contract negotiations with the police union, which is currently led by Lt. Bob Kroll. Community activist Nekima Levy Armstrong says she believes the federation and its leadership is responsible for a culture within the department that has led to the beatings and deaths of Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples.

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“We are talking about a police federation chief who has violated policies within the Minneapolis Police Department, who has been involved in at least three shootings that he has no remorse over, who has had seven lawsuits filed against him, and who has had dozens of excessive force complaints,” Armstrong said.

This group believe the first step in transforming police must come from within the Minneapolis Police Department.

“If police officers want the community to believe that they are serious, more than taking a knee for photo ops, then they will push their Minneapolis Police Federation President out of that position so that he can no longer represent the rank-and-file officers,” Armstrong said.

This civil rights coalition is also calling out members of the Minneapolis City Council. They say the council had ample opportunities to address corruption, but rubber stamped it by settling millions of dollars in excessive force lawsuits.

WCCO-TV anchor/reporter Liz Collin is married to Bob Kroll. To avoid any potential conflict of interest, Collin has not reported on Minneapolis Police and Minneapolis Police union issues for at least two-and-a-half years.

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Reg Chapman