Medaria Arradondo, Minneapolis' first black police chief, served his last day in office Saturday.
Arradondo, 54, who announced he was stepping down last month, had a variety of positions with the department for 30 years. He was named chief of police in 2017 after the resignation of former chief Janeé Harteau in the wake of the Justine Ruszczyk Damond shooting by a police officer.
Deputy Chief of Professional Standards Amelia Huffman was named the interim chief.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey proclaimed Saturday as Medaria Arradondo Day. In the declaration, Frey says that the chief has "embodied decency, community, and courage in his historic tenure" and "has been unabashed in his commitment to truth, justice and transparency."
The proclamation talked about Arradondo being born in south Minneapolis and attending Roosevelt High School. It said that he leaves a legacy of tirelessly advocating for the Black community and civil rights.
"Chief Medaria Arradondo has helped shoulder some of the heaviest moments in our city's history, showing up in his childhood community to be present with mourners at 38th and Chicago in the days following the murder of George Floyd," the proclamation said.
In 2007, Arradondo was one of five high-ranking Black officers to sue the department for discrimination. They settled for $185,000.
When announcing his retirement, he said that he believed "it was the right time to allow for new leadership, new perspective, new focus and new hope to lead the department forward in collaboration with our communities, and I am confident that the MPD has the leadership in place to advance this critically important work that lies ahead of us."
After Floyd's killing, civil unrest and calls to replace the police department with a public safety agency, Arrandondo's public opposition to the change prompted an ethics complaint against him, but it likely contributed to voters' decisive rejection of that amendment.
Arradondo's departure comes as the department is down hundreds of officers amid the worst violent crime surge in a generation, while confronting simultaneous state and federal investigations that could bring sweeping changes. Department leaders are seeking to mend community relations strained by the death of Floyd and others killed by police in recent years.
Arradondo oversaw a host of changes, such as tightening the department's pursuit policy after high-speed chases ended in fatalities, outfitting police with Narcan, and expanding procedural justice and implicit bias training for officers. He also took on issues — such as housing — that once seemed outside the scope of the job.
When then-mayor Betsy Hodges announced Arradondo would succeed Janeé Harteau as chief, it was the latest chapter in his unlikely ascent. Supporters say "Rondo," as he likes to be called, steps in to calm situations before they boil over. They point to his appearance on the TV show "COPS" in the early 1990s, when in the midst of responding to a distress call, he stopped to help an elderly woman across the street.
Some activists pushing for police reform pounced on what they saw as Arradondo's failure to rein in over-aggressive tactics that some say have long been the department's hallmark.
Staff writer Libor Jany contributed to this report.