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Minneapolis Police Chief, Medaria Arradondo, pushed back against the Minneapolis City Council’s decision to defund and dismantle the city’s police department, blasting their decision as a danger to public safety and pledging not to abandon citizens.
“As chief, I am obligated to [ensure] the public safety of our residents,” Arradondo said at a press conference on Wednesday, according to Fox News. “I will not abandon that.”
He said that, as the man in charge of Minneapolis police, he will “certainly can engage in those conversations” surrounding police reform and what can be done to curb police brutality and improve the Minneapolis police department, but he will not be part of any plan that would leave communities without police to call for help.
“I will not leave them behind,” Arradondo said of Minneapolis residents.
Instead, Arradondo said there were immediate changes that could be made to improve police-community relations. As a start, Minneapolis Police are removing themselves from contract negotiations involving the police union in the hopes that the department can eliminate “third party” involvement that might keep bad officers on the streets.
“There is nothing more debilitating from an employment matter perspective than when you have grounds to terminate an employee for his conduct,” Arradondo said, according to Fox, but cannot because of a union.
“As chief, I think now is the time to step away from [the union model] and start anew,” he said.
He added that he would “implement new procedures so that department leaders can identify early warning signs of misconduct,” and that he and others will focus on correcting problematic behavior and policies in real-time, including potential incidents of “systemic racism.”
“Race is inextricably part of the American policing system,” he said. “We will never evolve in this profession if we do not address it head-on.”
“I did not abandon this department then and I will not abandon this department now,” he added. “History is being written now and I am determined that we are on the right side of history.”
In order to get his common-sense reforms through, though, Arradondo will have to contend with the Minneapolis City Council which, Sunday, approved a measure disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department with a veto-proof majority. Although Minneapolis’ mayor, Jacob Frey, says he opposes the measure, the City Council and its president are determined to see the policy through — a point the city council president has made on several news shows since.
On Monday, she even noted that fearing a lack of police response to a violent attack is “white privilege,” implying that criminals should be allowed to burglarize, rape, and murder, or that systemic crime can be controlled by the involvement of “social workers” and “community organizations” designed to address mental illness and poverty, rather than by law enforcement.
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