Minneapolis Police chief takes stance against city charter amendment ballot question

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Wednesday, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo came out publicly against a proposed city charter amendment on next week’s ballot.

Arradondo voiced opposition, specifically, to ballot question No. 2, which, if it passes, would eliminate MPD and create a department of public safety.

"Having a holistic approach to public safety does not require a drastic change to our city charter," Arradondo said. "Each citizen needs to be informed and, as your chief, I feel it is my obligation to share my honest opinion on this upcoming ballot measure, and as your chief of police, I would not be in favor of this ballot amendment."

A coalition of community groups started pushing for the charter amendment shortly after George Floyd died while in police custody and the group Yes4Minneapolis collected 21,000 signatures to ensure that the question would be on the November ballot.

On the Yes4Minneapolis webpage, the group lays out its hopes with Question 2 and said it would help the new department of public safety to use social workers, housing and de-escalation experts and mental health professionals, however, the ballot language only says MPD would be replaced by a department of public safety and the functions of that department would be determined by the mayor and city council.

Arradondo said he has tried meeting with supporters of the charter amendment question to better understand what it would look like and how it would operate, but so far he said there has been no communication.

"I was not expecting some robust, detailed, word-for-word plan, but at this point, quite frankly, I would take a drawing on a napkin and I have not seen either," Arradondo said.

In a video statement released Wednesday night, the campaign manager, Corenia Smith, said Arradondo violated his own department policies by campaigning in a political issue before voters.

"Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo campaigning in uniform today—in explicit contradiction of the policy he himself wrote last year—is one of many examples revealed in his press conference today why structural change is imperative to keep the people of Minneapolis safe and to implement an accountable and transparent relationship with those who are called to protect and serve."

Voters will make their decision next Tuesday.