Minneapolis police chief ends contract negotiations with union

The union is seen as a barrier to reform within the MPD.

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo has announced he's ending the department's negotiations with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, following the death of George Floyd.

Arradondo made the announcement at a press conference on Wednesday morning, saying that talks about a new police union contract – which expired in 2019 but continues until a new deal is struck.

He wants a union contract that makes it easier to fire problematic officers, after multiple instances in recent years where officers terminated for misconduct have been reinstated after union appeals and arbitration decisions.

He also wants the department to expand on the use of real-time technology and data that tracks officers' and managers' career paths, including those with complaints against them, and make it publicly available.

Union President Lt. Bob Kroll has defended the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd and said they should not have been fired, prompting calls for his resignation after years in which the union has proved a barrier to reform within the department.

Arradondo says he has been speaking with Kroll about "what I believe is the best pathway to move forward" for the city, and though he wouldn't be drawn on whether he thinks Kroll should resign, but did say that Kroll "knows my position."

"I care deeply about the city and about the men and women sworn and civilian in this department, we have to look into our hearts what's in our best interests, and I hope that he will do the same.

"History is being written now, and I'm determined to make sure I'm on the right side of history," Arradondo said.

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"I think that it's very clear that we have to evolve, the traditional process in terms of union contract is probably antiquated, and are not meeting needs of all vested stakeholders, and I think as chief it's time to move away from that and start anew."

When asked about the announcement from a majority of Minneapolis City Council members about disbanding the department, saying it's beyond reform, he said the following:

"As chief, I'm obligated to ensure the safety of our 400,000 residents. 

"Our elected officials can engage in those conversations. Until there's a robust plan that reassures the safety of our residents, I will not leave them,, I will not leave them behind."

Mayor Jacob Frey, responding to the announcement, said it was a positive step but suggests that more change will be needed.

“We don’t just need a new contract with the police,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “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.

“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. I applaud the Chief’s courage, continued resolve to challenge the status quo, and clear message for the people of Minneapolis.”

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