Minneapolis Charter Commission rejects putting police management structure change on ballot

January 03, 2019 05:57 AM

The Minneapolis Charter Commission has declined to put a question about the oversight of the police department on the ballot for the city's voters.

The proposal requested the City Council and Mayor share policy-making authority over the force and it's 850-plus officers. But for that to happen, there would have to be a change to local law. 


Currently, only Mayor Jacob Frey has the authority to "establish, maintain and command" the Minneapolis Police Department.  

The proposed question was rejected at a commission meeting Wednesday.

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The proposal to give the City Council authority as well was sparked by the fatal shooting of Thurman Blevins by Minneapolis police in June.

The Minneapolis City Council previously approved the ballot question, but voters in November did not see it on the ballot because the Charter Commission voted to establish a task force to take 90 days and study the proposed question. 

Both Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo supported keeping things the way they are. 

"Today’s vote and thorough research from the Charter Commission’ affirms that a structure requiring the Chief to report to 14 bosses is the wrong choice for both public safety and accountability in Minneapolis," Frey said in a statement Wednesday.

However, others pointed out the 13-member council already has final budget approval for all city departments, and not adding this responsibility was a setback.

"It's more modern," Ward 2 Council Member Cam Gordon said. "It's what people want from government to work, and I think it's kind of a blow and setback in that way and also to policy accountability and democracy."  

Gordon said Wednesday that he will try again in 2020 when the next general election is held.

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Anthony Brousseau and Beth McDonough

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