Minneapolis police chief announces withdrawal from contract negotiations with city's police union

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Wednesday he is withdrawing from contract negotiations on the unfinished contract with the police union and restarting an effort to identify troubled police officers through early warning signs. 

The chief held a news conference Wednesday morning announcing structural and policy changes he has planned for the police department in the wake of the death of George Floyd

Arradondo said he plans to conduct a thorough review of how the contract with the police union can be restructured to “provide greater community transparency and more flexibility for true reform.” 

“There is nothing more debilitating to achieve from an employment matter perspective than when you have grounds to terminate an officer for misconduct and you’re dealing with a third-party mechanism that allows for that employee to not only be back on your department, but to be patrolling in your communities,” he said. 

Another step Arradondo is taking in reforming the police department is improving the disciplinary process. The chief said he plans to use real-time data on officer performance to “intervene with officers who are engaged in problematic behavior.” 

Wednesday’s news conference was the first time the chief had spoken publicly since a majority of the Minneapolis City Council pledged to dismantle the police department

“As chief, I am obligated to ensuring the public safety of our 400,000-plus residents. I will not abandon that,” Arradondo said in response to questions about the city council’s actions. “Our elected officials can certainly engage in those conversations, but until there is a robust plan to ensure the safety of our residents, I will not leave. I will not leave them behind.”

READ NEXT: What does dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department mean? 

Arradondo said the changes he announced Wednesday are just a few of the areas he is focusing on for reform. He said he will hold additional press conferences over the next few days to announce more changes, emphasizing that the department needs to “evolve.” 

“History is being written now, and I am determined to make sure we are on the right side of history,” the chief said. 

Floyd died on May 25 after now-fired police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground, pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck as Floyd repeatedly cried out that he could not breathe. Chauvin is now charged with murder for Floyd’s death. 

At Wednesday's news conference, Arradondo refused to even say Chauvin's name. 

The three other now-fired officers who responded to the scene are charged with aiding and abetting.