On Wednesday, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced that the Minneapolis Police Department is withdrawing from union contract negotiations. This comes in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of the MPD.
What We Know:
- Police Chief Arradondo said the contract needs to be restructured to provide more transparency and flexibility for true reform. He plans to do a thorough review of the contract with the help of outside experts.
“This is about examining those significant matters that touch on things such as critical incident protocol, use of force, the significant role that supervisors play in this department, and also the discipline process to include both grievances and arbitration.” – Police Chief Arradondo
- When asked if the union contract prevents him from holding his officers accountable, Arradondo said the department must evolve. He said that it is “debilitating” for him when there are grounds to terminate an officer and a third-party interferes. “This work must be transformational, but I must do it right,” he stated.
- Arradondo said that the traditional way of negotiating union contracts is “antiquated and not meeting the needs of all vested stakeholders”. He promised new research and strategies to identify and deal with problem officers early. The department has agreed to ban chokeholds ahead of a human rights investigation, which will result in a court-enforced reform plan.
- Arradondo is Minneapolis’ first African American chief of police. During his time as head of internal affairs, he investigated misconduct allegations against officers and successfully sued the department for discrimination in promotions, pay, and discipline.
- Arradondo dodged reporter questions regarding Lieutenant Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis police union. Kroll recently sent a letter to union members criticizing the treatment of the officers responsible for George Floyd’s death and calling Floyd a “violent criminal”. He also called the protests a “terrorist movement” and criticized the state and local response. Many have responded to the news of this letter by calling for Kroll’s resignation, including former police chief Janee Harteau. Mayor Jacob Frey said Kroll has “not been helpful in any way shape or form” regarding police reform.
- Frey supports Arradondo’s decision to withdraw from union contract negotiations. Minneapolis protestors booed Frey when he said that he opposes abolishing the police. Frey and Arradondo favor a cultural shift within the MPD and strive for a department that can be viewed as legitimate and trustworthy.
Last Sunday, the Minneapolis City Council announced their support of disbanding the police and replacing them with community-based public safety programs.