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Minneapolis council president files ethics complaint against police chief, mayor

At the heart of the complaint is the chief's news conference about Ballot Question 2.
Police chief Arradondo - 2021.10.27

Minneapolis' council president says Police Chief Medaria Arradondo may have violated MPD and city rules by openly arguing against an upcoming ballot question during a press conference this week.

Council Member Lisa Bender announced Thursday she is filing an ethic complaint against both Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey over Wednesday afternoon's event. The police chief, while speaking to the media, took a hardline stance against ballot question 2, which if approved would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety.

Critics, during the discussion, noted Arradondo's appearance may violate the city's code of ethics, which states employees should not use city facilities, property, funds, logos or personnel "to engage in political activity."

Related: What happens if Minneapolis' public safety question passes? City memo provides answers

Bender, who is not running for reelection, agreed, saying in a statement Thursday she believes Arradondo ran afoul of ethics code section 15.110 as well as MPD rules pertaining to campaigning in a uniform.

Because the police chief reports directly to the mayor, Bender said Frey might be on the hook as well. Bender wrote:

"We need a full and accurate ethics investigation of a press event held on Wednesday, October 27 — including the role of the Mayor of Minneapolis in directing or planning the event — when the Chief appears to have used city resources, including the support of city staff, city logos and the MPD uniform, at a press event explicitly focused on taking a position on a ballot question."

In a statement to Bring Me The News, the Minneapolis Police Department said Arradondo "stands by every word that he said," adding that he "respects the ethics process and will cooperate fully."

The statement continued: "The Chief firmly believes that he has an obligation to be honest and truthful with the residents of the city regarding their public safety and he will continue to do that."

Frey, in a statement, said the police chief "made the decision to speak out on his own," and called Bender's choice to include the mayor in the ethics complaint "a desperate, last ditch political stunt on her way out the door."

He added: "It should be treated as such.”

Arradondo himself previously implemented a rule preventing serving MPD officers from attending political campaign events or advertisements while wearing the uniform, which came after former Minneapolis Police Federation chief Bob Kroll planned to speak at a rally for former President Donald Trump at Target Center.

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