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Minneapolis Police Department ending police union contract negotiations

The Minneapolis Police Department will end its police union negotiations in a move to make “transformational” reforms after the death of George Floyd in city police custody, the police chief announced Wednesday.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said during a press conference that the contract with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis will be thoroughly reviewed and restructured to ensure more transparency and flexibility. 

"This work must be transformational, but I must do it right," Arradondo said.

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"We will have a police department that our communities view as legitimate, trusting and working with their best interests at heart," he said, before announcing the first steps of reform.

Arradondo emphasized that the withdrawal from the negotiations “is not about employee's benefits or wages or salaries,” saying that the review will focus on critical incident protocol, use of force and discipline processes, including grievances and attribution. 

“There is nothing more debilitating to a chief from an employment matter perspective than when you have grounds to terminate an officer for his conduct, and you’re dealing with a third party-mechanism that allows for that employee to not only be back on your department but be patrolling in your communities,” the chief said. 

Arradondo also vowed to put resources into developing new research and strategies to identify and deal with problematic officers. 

The sweeping changes were announced just few weeks after Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody. Video footage of Floyd’s detainment showed a former officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and became unresponsive. 

Arradondo fired officer Derek Chauvin and three others present on the scene the day after Floyd’s death, before any of them were criminally charged. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, while the other three officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. 

The majority of the Minneapolis City Council pledged on Sunday to disband the city’s police department and replace it with a new system in response to Floyd’s death.  

But Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) said Monday that he was against defunding the police department, prompting protesters to boo him and chant, “Go home, Jacob.”