Minneapolis Police Chief Ends Contract Negotiations with Union as Reform Plans Emerge

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo speaks during the Super Bowl LII security press conference in Minneapolis, Minn, January 31, 2018. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

The Minneapolis police chief announced Wednesday that he will immediately withdraw from negotiations with the city’s police union as the department considers a suite of reforms after George Floyd’s death.

Chief Medaria Arradondo said the city’s contract with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis will be subject to a review that will focus on the department’s use-of-force policies as well as its disciplinary process.

“I plan to bring in subject-matter experience and advisers to conduct a thorough review of how the contract can be restructured to provide greater community transparency and more flexibility for true reform,” Arradondo said at a press conference in Minneapolis. He added that he also plans to implement policies enabling the department to “identify early warning signs of misconduct and to provide proven strategies to intervene.”

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Arradondo’s decision comes amid national furor over the death of Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, during which time he passed out.

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey hailed the police chief’s move and called for “sweeping structural reform” of the department.

“We don’t just need a new contract with the police. We need a new compact between the people of Minneapolis and the people trusted to protect and serve — and we need to go farther than we ever have in making sweeping structural reform,” Frey wrote in a tweet.

In response to calls to overhaul and defund the police department, the Minneapolis City Council on Sunday announced that a veto-proof majority had voted to dissolve the department, a proposal opposed by both the mayor and Arradondo.

“Our elected officials certainly can engage in those conversations, but until there is a robust plan that reassures the safety of our residents, I will not leave them,” Arradondo said in response to the city council’s proposal.

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