Minneapolis’ first Black police chief to retire

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Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Monday that he won’t accept a third term as chief …

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Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Monday that he won’t accept a third term as chief

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Monday that he won’t accept a third term as chief, in a blow to a department that has been reeling since four officers were charged in George Floyd’s death.

Arradondo, 54, said it was time for new leadership at the department. He said he would retire in January after 32 years.

“I am confident that the MPD has the leadership in place to advance this critically important work that lies ahead,” Arradondo said.

Mayor Jacob Frey will appoint a replacement.

Arradondo, the city’s first Black police chief, was promoted to the role in 2017 following the firing of his predecessor for her handling of the fatal police shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who had called 911 to report hearing a possible sexual assault near her home.

Arradondo, who first joined the department in 1989 as a patrol officer in north Minneapolis and rose up the ranks, was seen as an agent of change in a department that many described as discriminatory toward the city’s people of color.

Following Floyd’s death in May 2020 and the protests and unrest in the days after, Arradondo fired the four officers who were involved even though they hadn’t yet been charged. The chief has since weathered calls to dismantle the department and a ballot initiative in November to replace the police department with a new department of public safety. About 56% of city residents voted against that initiative.

The department has struggled with the same spiking crime seen in many major U.S. cities in the past 18 months, and has been doing so even as many officers leave. The department is as much as one-third below its authorized maximum size.

Arradondo and Frey have touted several policy changes as progress toward changing the department, which include improving body camera compliance among officers, and bans on “warrior-style” training, chokeholds and pretext stops for some low-level offenses, among others.

Arradondo was a finalist in January to take over the San Jose, California, police department before he took himself out of the running. He said at the time that he was committed to overseeing the transformation of his own department.

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Mohamed Ibrahim is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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