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Ex-Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has been appointed to the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners.

Minneapolis City Council approved Arradondo's appointment by a narrow 7-6 vote. The board consists of nine members who are responsible for approving the budget and for setting policy for public housing standards in the city.

Arradondo served as the city's police chief starting in 2017 and resigned in 2022, a period that included the murder of George Floyd by officer Derek Chauvin and the unrest that followed in May 2020.

City council members volleyed back and forth on the matter, resulting in a close final vote.

Those who voted in favor of appointing Arradondo include Council President Andrea Jenkins, Council Vice President Linea Palmisano, and council members Jamal Osman, Emily Koski, LaTrisha Vetaw, Michael Rainville and Lisa Goodman, many of whom are allies with Mayor Jacob Frey, who had a close relationship with Arradondo when he was chief.

Those who opposed were council members Andrew Johnson, Elliott Payne, Aisha Chugthai, Jeremiah Ellison, Jason Chavez and Robin Wonsley.

Those who supported adding Arradondo noted his upbringing in public housing.

"I think lived experience goes a long way," Vetaw said during the meeting. "He grew up in public housing as did I."

Vetaw added Arradondo is "well respected" with some reaching out to her personally in Ward 4 saying they support the addition of the former chief.

Jenkins said she was "surprised" to see his name up for the position but supports the addition.

"[Arradondo] believes strongly in providing housing, affordable housing, public housing — all matters of housing, he talks passionately about," Jenkins said.

However, others on the city council didn't think the appointment made much sense.

"I don't believe a lived experience as a police officer will help get us out of this housing crisis," Chavez stated. 

Wonsley also shared the same sentiment, adding it would be setting up the public housing committee to not provide what its recipients deserve. She also pointed out how MPD has addressed the housing crisis, noting it hasn't been on the side of advancing housing stability in the state.

"MPD has been used to enact brutal and violent evictions of residents and unhoused people from encampments," she said.

"And by appointing a former police officer, and someone who was under leadership of MPD while [the department] committed numerous human rights violations — that sends a very bad message to our public housing residents and to the public."

Arradondo started with the Minneapolis Police Department as a patrol officer in 1989. He was been with the department for a total of 32 years, having previously served in various leadership positions, including 1st Precinct inspector, deputy chief and chief of staff. He was appointed as police chief in 2017 by former Mayor Betsy Hodges after then-Police Chief Janee Harteau was asked to resign in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

Arradondo's term ended in mid-January 2022. He said at the time he no longer had any interest in running for other elected positions such as governor, nor did he consider other police chief positions outside of Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights found through a two-year investigation the police department had engaged in an unlawful "pattern or practice of race discrimination" over a period of at least a decade, and found the city's response to the civil unrest of 2020 to be uncoordinated, disorganized and plagued with poor communication. 

You can watch the city council meeting below, where the topic of Arradondo spans from the 38:50-58:20 timeslot, then the vote happens beginning at the 1:24:32 mark.

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