Jun 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Minneapolis Police Department withdraws from union contract negotiations

Minneapolis police chief.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. Photo: Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The Minneapolis Police Department is withdrawing from police union contract negotiations as a first step to reforming the agency, Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Wednesday.

The big picture: Arradondo said the contract needs to be restructured to provide transparency and “flexibility for true reform.” A thorough review will examine protocols for critical incidents, use of force, and disciplining officers.

  • Arradondo said it is "debilitating" when the department has grounds to terminate officers, but a third party works to keep them on the street.
  • He also promised to implement new strategies to identify bad officers.

Why it matters: The news comes as lawmakers are grappling with the politics of police unions as they face pressure to reform the departments they serve. Union resistance has been one of the biggest roadblocks to implementing changes to policing.

  • It also comes days after a veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council pledged to begin the process of dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department as it currently exists — though it's still unclear what will replace it.
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has said he does not support abolishing MPD, but has advocated for sweeping reforms and has blamed the police union for making it difficult to discipline and terminate officers.

What they're saying: “We will have a police department that our communities view as legitimate, trusting and working with their best interests at heart,” Arradondo said.

  • “This is about examining those significant matters that touch on things such as critical incident protocol, use of force, the significant role that supervisors play in this department, and also the discipline process to include both grievances and arbitration.”

Go deeper: Democrats face the changing politics of police unions

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