Minneapolis ends talks with police union in wake of Floyd case

The police chief says ‘we will have a police department that our communities view as legitimate, trusting’.

Minneapolis police officers detain a group outside a car during continued demonstrations in reaction to the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota [Lucas Jackson/Reuters]
The Minneapolis Police Department will withdraw from police union contract negotiations, MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo said on Wednesday as he announced the first steps in what he said would be transformational reforms to the agency in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Arradondo said a thorough review of the contract is planned. He said the contract needs to be restructured to provide more transparency and flexibility for true reform. The review would look at matters such as critical incident protocols, use of force, and disciplinary protocols, including grievances and arbitration.

He said it is debilitating for a chief when there are grounds to terminate an officer and a third-party mechanism works to keep that person on the street.

“This work must be transformational, but I must do it right,” Arradondo said of changes to the department.

He also promised new research and strategies to spot and intervene with problem officers.

“We will have a police department that our communities view as legitimate, trusting and working with their best interests at heart,” he said, adding that the department has to address issues of racism head-on.

Arradondo sidestepped a question about whether he thought union head Bob Kroll, often seen as an obstacle to reforms, should step down. He also did not directly answer a question about whether citizens should worry about a slowdown in police response time as a pushback against attempts to transform the department. Some city council members have said in the past that their wards saw such slowdowns when they complained about the police action.

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