The Minneapolis Police Department will be withdrawing from union contract negotiations amid concerns that police unions hinder accountability and reform measures, numerous sources reported.
The decision comes after investigations by the state into the Minneapolis police after the death of George Floyd, who died after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo made the withdrawal announcement Wednesday as the department moves toward structural and policy changes, according to Fox 9.
A Hennepin County judge recently ordered the department to implement “structural changes” as part of the state’s civil rights investigation. The order bans the use of all neck restraints and chokeholds and requires officers to report the use of unauthorized force by another officer.
Arradondo said the contract with the police union will be reviewed to determine how it can be restructured to “provide greater community transparency and more flexibility for true reform,” according to Fox 9.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey criticized police unions when addressing an investigation prompted by the actions of Derek Chauvin, the officer who is charged with second-degree murder after Floyd died during an arrest he conducted.
Previous probes had been “thwarted by police union protections and laws that severely limit accountability among police departments,” Frey said. (RELATED: Mayor Jacob Frey Highlights Police Union Hurdles In Minneapolis Police Department Probe)
Although Chauvin was fired after Floyd’s death, the union Minneapolis Police Federation president Lt. Bob Kroll said he was fighting to help the officers also fired for implication in Floyd’s death. They were charged with aiding and abetting, and Kroll said he is working to help them get their jobs back as he feels they were fired without due process.
“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,” Arradondo said, according to Fox 9.
Arradondo said the department is also going to improve the disciplinary process by using real-time data on officer performance to “intervene with officers who are engaged in problematic behavior.”
When asked about the council’s pledge, Arradondo responded, “As chief, I am obligated to ensuring the public safety of our 400,000-plus residents. I will not abandon that.”
“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.”