Listen Live

Minneapolis Police Department To Pull Out Of Contract Negotiations With The Union

Jun 10, 2020
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In Minneapolis today, another step towards changing the way the police interact with the community. In a step towards reform, the police chief is pulling out of contract negotiations with the union for the city's police officers. From Minneapolis, NPR's David Schaper reports.

(APPLAUSE, CHEERING)

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: After the arrest of all four of the now fired Minneapolis police officers who were on the scene when one of them pinned George Floyd to the ground, kneeling on Floyd's neck, protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeting the police union.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: And you about to lose your job.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: (Unintelligible).

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: And you about to lose your job.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: (Unintelligible).

SCHAPER: Speakers at this weekend protest outside of the police union's headquarters noted that the union has long been considered an impediment of policing reforms and a protector of bad cops, especially those who engage in racial discrimination and unnecessary use of excessive force. But that is about to change, says Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MEDARIA ARRADONDO: Beginning today, as chief, I am immediately withdrawing from the contract negotiations with the Minneapolis Police Federation.

SCHAPER: Arradondo says he needs to step back from the table and get input from outside advisers and experts to look at ways the contract can be restructured to provide greater transparency for the community and greater flexibility to make meaningful reforms.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARRADONDO: This work must be transformational, but I must do it right.

SCHAPER: Arradondo says he wants to examine contract provisions covering critical incident protocols, use of force, accountability and the disciplinary process, including grievances in arbitration.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARRADONDO: There is nothing more debilitating to a chief from an employment matter perspective then 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.

SCHAPER: Arradondo is the first ever African American police chief in Minneapolis, and he acknowledges what he calls crippled relationships between the police and communities of color that have eroded trust in the police force. But some critics here say his initial steps at reform don't go far enough, as many here are calling to disband the entire department and replace it with a new model of public safety.

David Schaper, NPR News, Minneapolis. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.