The Potluck

Minneapolis police chief to end contract negotiations with police union

By: - June 10, 2020 11:20 am

Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Wednesday that he would withdraw from contract negotiations with the Minneapolis police union and implement a program intended to intervene in problematic officer behavior.

The announcement comes days after the Minneapolis City Council declared its intent to disband the police department as residents clamor for police reform in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Arradondo said the moves are intended to increase transparency and community trust.

“Race is inextricably a part of the American policing system,” he said. “We will never evolve in this profession if we don’t address it head on. Communities of color have paid the price for this, and that is with their lives.”

Arradondo said he’ll call in outside advisers for guidance on restructuring officer contracts with the Minneapolis Police Federation.

“There is nothing more debilitating … than when you have grounds to terminate an officer for misconduct, and you’re dealing with a third-party mechanism that allows for that employee to not only be back in your department but to be patrolling in your communities,” he said.

The changes also include redesigning a program that Arradondo said will use “real-time data” to track warning signs of misconduct by individual officers and intervene in problematic behavior. The Star Tribune reported that a similar program the department attempted to launch in 2014 never gained traction.

In a statement, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he supported the chief’s plans.

“We don’t just need a new contract with the police,” Frey said. “We need to go farther than we ever have in making sweeping structural reform. Additional accountability between the people and the police needs to be matched with internal ability to closely monitor police behavior and intervene early to prevent more tragedy.”

The Minneapolis Police union is viewed by many as an obstacle to reform. Arradondo didn’t directly answer questions about whether Minneapolis Police Federation President Lt. Bob Kroll’s removal would make it easier to reform the department or whether he believes Kroll is willing to take part in changes.

Kroll, a controversial figure, sparked outrage after the demonstrations against police when he sent a letter to officers saying they were “scapegoats” and criticizing the city’s response to unrest.

He also alleged that the four officers at the scene of Floyd’s death were fired without due process. Former officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes before he died, has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, and the three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.