The police chief of Minneapolis said he will not "abandon" the city's residents amid the governing council's veto-proof support to "defund" the police department.
"As chief, I am obligated to ensuring the public safety of our 400,000 plus residents," police chief Medaria Arradondo said during a Wednesday news conference. "I will not abandon that. Our elected officials certainly can certainly engage in those conversations, but until there is a robust plan that reassures the safety of our residents, I will not leave them. I will not leave them behind."
Arradondo, who has been chief of the department since July 2017, was responding to questions about Sunday's announcement, by nine of the city council's 13 members, they will replace Minneapolis' law enforcement agency.
The announcement came after weeks of riots and protests – which have spread to numerous cities – in response to the death of a black man, George Floyd, while in police custody on Memorial Day. A widely circulated video of a white police officer restraining Floyd face down with his knee on Floyd's neck has sparked cries of systemic racism in U.S. law enforcement.
Arradondo also announced the city was withdrawing from contract negotiations with the police officers' union, blaming it for the department's inability to terminate a cop for cause. He called the process of seeking to terminate an officer "antiquated."
"There is nothing more debilitating from an employment matter perspective than when you have grounds to terminate an employee for his conduct," but cannot because of a "third-party" presence, referring to the police union.
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