Minneapolis chief cites city crime in opposition to ballot measure to replace police

"A Black resident in Minneapolis is 480 more times more likely to be shot in this city than to be involved as a victim of an officer-involved shooting," Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo claimed.

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Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has once again come out against a ballot initiative that would replace police officers ahead of Tuesday’s election.

The measure in question is ‘ballot question 2’ which asks Minneapolis residents if they would want the Minneapolis police department replaced with a public safety department. Voters will head to the polls and decide if they want to amend the city’s charter and eliminate the force, Kare 11 reports.

Police Chief Arradondo first spoke out against the amendment in August, declaring that it “wholly unbearable position,” to give council members that much authority. He doubled down on that criticism during a press conference on Wednesday and stated that “I will tell you to have 14 bosses, that is not a business model we would give to children running a lemonade stand.”

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo thegrio.com
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo (Credit: YouTube screenshot)

He cited the interests of public safety in his plea for the public to reject this proposal.

“As your chief of police, I would not be in favor of this ballot amendment,” Arradondo said.

“We are down a third of our sworn officers,” Arradondo said. “To vote on a measure of reimagining of public safety without a solid plan and an implementation or direction of work, this is too critical of a time to wish and hope for that help that we need so desperately right now.”

He also invoked the crime rate against the Black community as another reason to oppose ballot question 2.

“A Black resident in Minneapolis is 480 more times more likely to be shot in this city than to be involved as a victim of an officer-involved shooting. A Black resident in this city is 62 times more likely to be shot and killed in this city than to be shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting. This ballot measure does not address that,” Arradondo claimed.

Arradondo also took exception that ballot question 2 was not detailed enough. He said that there was no discernable way to determine what the end result would be.

“This is too critical the time to wish and hope for that help that we need so desperately right now,” Arradondo said. “And again, I was not expecting some sort of robust, detailed word for word ‘plan.’ But at this point, quite frankly, I would take a drawing on a napkin.”

He was also concerned about the language in the proposal. There is a reference that states “public safety department” could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary.”

Arradondo believed that this measure would not end “tragic incidents between police and community from ever occurring,” or address underlying issues in policing, the erosion of trust between all parties, and reducing crime.

“I urge you to ask yourself, what is truly the goal of this ballot question,” Arradondo said. “Having a holistic change to public safety does not require a drastic change to our city charter. The future of public safety for our city requires this: it requires all of us to see each other as necessary.”

Arradondo, whose job term ends in January, did not commit to staying in office if the amendment passed.

Derek Chauvin Murder Trial For Death Of George Floyd Continues In Minneapolis
Demonstrators march through downtown on April 9, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The issue of policing in Minneapolis came into sharper focus after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 after now-former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd’s death was caught on the bystander video of 17-year-old Darnella Frazier.

Floyd’s death led to national and worldwide protests. In Minneapolis, the “defund the police” movement gained a foothold. The Yes 4 Minneapolis, an alliance formed to “better protect Black lives and have true safety in the city of Minneapolis,” petitioned to have the question of replacing the Minneapolis Police Department on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Yes 4 Minneapolis accused Arradondo of campaigning while in uniform despite his desire to keep the force “apolitical,” and using city resources to do so following his press conference.

“Chief Arradondo is right –– our city is flat-lining and we ask too much of our police officers –– all because our current approach to public safety is not working. Not for police officers and not for Minneapolis residents,” read the statement. “The city has put hundreds of millions of dollars into our armed police only model – more than what we’ve ever spent, yet the outcomes don’t match.”

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