The May 25 death of George Floyd has resulted in criminal charges against the four Minneapolis police officers involved, and triggered widespread protests and calls for reform and abolishment of the department. On Wednesday chief Medaria Arradondo revealed the first two steps he plans to take.
What are they?
Arradondo said he is stepping away from contract negotiations with the Police Officers’ Federation of Minneapolis, the union representing about 800 rank-and-file officers, to bring in advisers and determine how negotiations can take place with greater community transparency. He also plans to implement a system using real-time data and research on police behavior to detect early warning signs of officer misconduct and intervene.
What changes does he want to make to the contract?
Arradondo said he is not concerned about salaries and benefits, but “significant” aspects of the contract like use of force, the role supervisors play, and the discipline process, including grievances and arbitration.
How will this work?
Mayor Jacob Frey said outside advisers will review the existing contract and suggest amendments. And, “if there are road blockages that are extra contractual, like state law,” they can help identify those as well. The city’s agreement with the state Department of Human Rights gives the city until July to provide a list of state laws or other factors that are impeding the city’s ability to discipline officers.
Who is going to do it?
Frey said that’s still in the works, and they will provide the criteria they will use to select people.
What is the status of the union contract?
The Minneapolis Police Federation labor agreement lasts three years, with the most recent running from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019. The terms of that contract remain in place.
What about the intervention program?
Arradondo provided few details, but it may be similar to a 2014 effort by then-Chief Janeé Harteau who tried to implement a similar program under federal recommendations. However, it appears to have never gotten off the ground. Arradondo said Wednesday that such reform hasn’t worked in the past because academic experts found that supervisory action alone to problematic officers “is very rare and significantly absent” in large departments.
Arradondo said he will continuously roll out more plans for reform and hold additional news conferences to discuss them.