- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Medaria Arradondo, Minneapolis police chief, responded Wednesday to calls from liberal activists to defund police departments after the Minneapolis city council voted to disband his department, saying government leaders can have that debate but he will continue to protect residents.

“I will not leave them behind,” he said, noting there would need to be a plan to replace law enforcement in the community for residents’ safety.

The comments come after nationwide protests and riots have erupted following the death of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis over Memorial Day weekend.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, had his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes despite Floyd repeatedly saying he could not breathe. The officer has since been charged with second-degree murder.

Mr. Arradondo said his department — and law enforcement agencies across the country — need to do better and eradicate racism from within the departments, as well as actions taken by police officers.

“I believe we will continue to move forward and we will move forward in collaboration with our community,” he said.

Mr. Arrandondo, a black man, said he has a special view of racism in America and can use his own experience to bring attention to systemic race issues and policing.

“We must do better. We have to do better,” he told reporters.

The police chief also commented on some of the other officers who have been charged with aiding and abetting Mr. Chauvin during the arrest of Floyd. Some of those officers were new to the job, while Mr. Chauvin had 18 years of experience on the force.

But the police chief said his department policies don’t change by the years one has been working.

“I demand one’s humanity to rise above that,” he said. “What I observed was not training I participated in.”

Mr. Arradondo also announced his department will withdraw from police union contracts so he can make the reforms he needs to, and also remove officers that are problematic in the force.

“The traditional process in terms of the union contract…are not meeting the needs of all vested stakeholders,” he said.

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