Minneapolis

Minneapolis Police Chief Ends Contract Negotiations With Police Union

After George Floyd’s death, the city will bring in outside advisers to recommend changes to make policing more transparent and accountable.

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Minneapolis' police chief said Wednesday he was withdrawing the city from contract negotiations with the union representing local officers in order to bring in outside advisers to analyze the contract for potential reforms.

"This is not about employees' benefits, or wages, or salaries," Chief Medaria Arradondo said. "But this is further examining those significant matters that touch on such things as critical incident protocol, our use of force, the significant roles that supervisors play in this department, and also the discipline process, to include both grievances and arbitration.

"There is nothing more debilitating to a chief, from an employment perspective, than when you have grounds to terminate an officer for misconduct, and you're dealing with a third-party mechanism that not only allows that employee to be back on your department, but to be patrolling in your communities."

Arradondo was referring to collective bargaining agreements between police unions and their municipalities that make it extremely hard for departments to fire bad cops. Union-mandated appeal practices have time and time again either shielded cops from discipline entirely or returned them to the force after they've been fired as a result of binding arbitration processes. Derek Chauvin, the fired Minneapolis police officer now facing third-degree murder and manslaughter charges in Floyd's death, had a history of complaints filed against him, two of which resulted in discipline, including a letter of reprimand.

Arradondo noted that the police department will also be implementing an as-yet-defined mechanism to analyze data about officer performance to try to catch officers engaging in problem conduct early on in order to intervene. He was short on the details but noted that part of the problem departments have been having with efforts to catch and adjust police officers' behavior has been supervisors' failure to respond. Supervisors simply aren't acting on their own to address officers' conduct. So this data-driven system is intended to force a reaction or response when cops misbehave.

This announcement does not suggest that Arradondo supports the Minneapolis City Council members who want to defund or completely dismantle or rethink the city's entire police department. It's not his call, though, and he responded to a question from a reporter about the push to defund police by saying he wasn't planning to step down anytime soon. "Until there is a robust plan that ensures the safety of our residents," he said, "I will not leave them."

Arradondo is taking direct aim here at the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis. Its president, Lt. Bob Kroll, is taking heat from all quarters for his public response to Floyd's death, dismissing him as a "violent criminal" and referring to protesters as terrorists, even as other police unions across the country have condemned Chavin's behavior.

The city's police contract expired at the end of 2019 but remains in force until a new one is negotiated.

When asked directly whether Kroll should resign, Arradondo deflected somewhat, saying "there's going to have to be some decisions made, moving forward" about union leadership, adding that the two of them have been having regular conversations.

As always, when we talk about police reforms, the devil will be in the details. Arradondo said there will be additional press conferences in the coming days and weeks. Arradondo may be presenting the carrot here, attempting to convince the union to embrace these reforms, while the City Council presents the stick—the possibility that Minneapolis may follow the example of Camden, New Jersey, and completely eliminate its local police department (and union) and then start over with county law enforcement.

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  1. …collective bargaining agreements between police unions and their municipalities that make it extremely hard for departments to fire bad cops.

    And we know that any police contract is the highest rule of law when it comes to department matters, as it apparently precludes authorities from not only firing bad employees but also from charging them for their criminal acts.

    1. My limited familiarity with union contracts isn’t necessarily that that it makes it impossible to fire bad employees, but there are procedural rules to be followed, which, quite often, higher ups won’t take the time and effort to follow through on, and often enough, pay lip service to having their hands tied while protecting said officers.

      Typically, it is mismanagement from above that sets policy (whether choke holds are allowed, etc.), which unions have limited say in.

      And it is just as likely the union was heavily corrupt.

      Give it 5 years and see if this was meaningful or just knee-jerk.

      1. Yeah that’s more or less my understanding of things. Unions just make it hard to fire bad employees, but not entirely impossible. It’s management that has to shoulder some of the blame here for (a) negotiating these contracts, and (b) not going through the laborious processes that they themselves agreed to in the contract for attempting to fire bad employees.

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        2. Management isnt negotiating the policies idiot. It is the city. The article even explains it.

          The rules are often set up to the detriment of management where appeals boards are overloaded with union and employee representation. Even when fired, appeals process heavily favors reinstatement. This is true of police and teachers. LA Times has numerous articles on teachers unions and their rubber rooms due to the process of firing bad teachers. But that would require you reading past a headline.

          1. Anyone who had to work with a corporate HR department and the Union to manage a union represented employee understands that the primary goal of the HR department is to make it all go away. Actually making it easier to perform tasks is never a concern of HR. It is understood by HR that actually getting work done is the sole concern of management and that they will accomplish this because it is their nature to do so. It is to role of HR to collapse to union demands because it makes their life so much easier.

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          2. Huh. That’s strange, as I frequently read of teachers also being fired for saying the wrong thing or something scandalized in their past. How is it that arbitration boards are able to protect the officers with numerous complaints, and yet these teachers are fired immediately?

            Also, beyond the reporting of Chauvin’s complaint record, he also got medals for valor. Does that sound like the department was tirelessly trying to get rid of him while also giving him accommodations? Curious.

            “But that would require you reading past a headline.”

            Likewise.

            I can say in my neck of the woods, a handful of officers have been fired for posting racist comments on social media or other infractions. A few are even doing time. Amazing that the department here can manage that level of accountability even with a union. How do you explain that?

            1. re: “I frequently read of teachers also being fired”

              Citation, please. I can think of very few such cases where public school teachers have been fired for such things. College professors and/or private school teachers, yes – but they are not generally protected by unions.

            2. “I can say in my neck of the woods, a handful of officers have been fired for posting racist comments on social media or other infractions. A few are even doing time.”

              “[D]oing time” for what?

      2. Yeah this. I’m in a heavily unionized business, and I’ve seen across multiple managements, those managements that claim it’s too hard to fire anyone are incompetent babies who think they shouldn’t have to go through minimal effort. Firing union employees is possible, you just have to be persistent about documentation and following the procedure and apparently that’s just beyond some peoples’ capabilities (or more likely, they’re too lazy).

        1. Minimal effort? Again… these processes have been documented. It takes over a year of behavioral/performance documentation then 2 years of attempting to fire the person. LA times stated the average time to fire a teacher in their system was over 3 years. This included such teachers as one putting semen in a drink to get his students to drink without their knowledge.

          This isnt just a small and easy process.

      3. “It’s not impossible” is the cry of those who ignore the reality and importance of marginal effects.

  2. Good.

  3. I’m confused, liberal Democrats have ruled Minneapolis for 40 years why is the police force in such disarray they had to break off contract negotiations? Shouldn’t the MPD be the best most progressive most professional and least racist police department in history? What went wrong?

    1. Your choice of the word ‘ruled’ explains it all.

    2. I know, right? Why it’s almost as if most establishment Democrats aren’t Marxist revolutionaries, but instead defenders of the status quo, for better or for worse

      1. No, no. They’re both. And both weak and easily defeatable, but also strong and lurking everywhere!

      2. “One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.” – Orwell

        All Marxists are dictators

    3. Leadership in Minneapolis has no spine. Have you seen the video of BLM shaming the mayor and he sadly walks away like a punished child?

      1. Not gonna lie, I’m surprised he had the spine to tell them no, he wouldn’t support axing the police force. Surrounded and alone like that, takes some balls. Of course, if he hadn’t been an idiot, then this situation would never have devolved to this point

    4. “Shouldn’t the MPD be the best most progressive most professional and least racist police department in history?”

      It is.

      What went wrong?

      The dumbass cop got caught.

  4. The problem is that the vast majority of labor arbitrators are hard core union supporters. And state statutes often make it impossible for local governments to negotiate any significant changes to the status quo. Unions have been acquiring state legislators for many decades and changing that will take many more.

      1. And the fact that victims regularly keep voting for the victimizers.

    1. That’s nice, but I don’t see it changing much.

      “”Each department member has the individual responsibility to intervene and stop any other member from committing an unlawful or improper act, including but not limited to, acts of brutality, abuses of process, abuses of authority, and any other criminal acts or major violations of department rules and procedures,” the policy states. “Successful intervention does not negate a duty to report.””

      So if an officer doesn’t report an “unlawful or improper act” of his/her partner, who is going to verify this? It’s the same “thin blue line” problem.

      1. I keep saying, there are no good police.

        If they are there, they would be stopping this crap like she did…
        https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2020/06/george-floyd-protests-female-police-officer-praised-for-confronting-male-cop-who-pushed-protesting-woman.html

        The reason for this is to try to find at least a few good cops.

        IMO, good cops don’t need specific orders to do the right thing. Anyone who does, isn’t my definition of ‘good’.

  5. A word on why Camden County even occurred: corruption, and union contracts. In a smart move by Chris Christie, the state facilitated the County taking over policing duties from the city, and ditched the entire future contract obligation [meaning, the financial bleeding of Camden by not incurring even more costly obligations was stopped].

    Is it a model? Maybe. But Camden had rampant corruption and that corruption really drove all the other problems.

    1. It also forced the entire county to pay for Camden City’s law enforcement, as well as their own municipal departments.

      Ever see Camden County police doing enforcement outside the city? I haven’t.

      1. I see them in Cherry Hill all the time. Runnemeade, Clemonton….not so much.

        1. Well, Cherry Hill is paying for a good chunk of it, so I guess that’s ok.

    2. The Camden case is being cited as a cure for the wrong ailment.

      The abolition of the Camden police force was a financial issue. It took the cost of the city police force off the backs of a broke municipality that could not afford the union contracts any longer, regionalized the cost of policing, and resulted in more reasonable, affordable contracts. If anything, it is a model for regionalization of police and police costs, though notably there has been no great rush among other New Jersey municipalities to follow this example.

      But it was not intended as a measure for addressing police misconduct or making it easier to remove miscreant police officers. In New Jersey, the protections for miscreant police officers are set by state statute, not by labor contract. And I am not aware of any proof that the regional police force has fewer disciplinary problems, or had officers less likely to abuse citizens, than the abolished Camden City police force did. So I do not understand why the Camden case is being cited as an example of “reform” of police misconduct.

      1. Because they need proof that they’re right, even if it proves them wrong.

      2. also worth noting that from what i read, this reform also involved adding significantly *more* police…which i don’t think is what these current ‘reformers’ are looking for

  6. I see the New York Times is now firmly anti-Public Sector Unions. says they are impediments to reform and protect bad actors. Not really enough on how they corrupt the political process

    (checks notes)

    I’m sorry, they are just anti-POLICE Unions. The Teachers Unions and the AFSCME and SEIU are all still totes Okay and their compulsory campaign contributions and lavish pensions are AOK.

    1. One small step.

      Maybe the next ‘teacher abuses student’ incident will sway them to be anti teachers union. (Haha!! Who am I trying to kid)

  7. No QI
    No unions
    No secrecy

    1. No way – – – –

  8. “there’s going to have to be some decisions made, moving forward”

    “And something must be done! I am quite serious!”

  9. “ The city’s police contract expired at the end of 2019 but remains in force until a new one is negotiated.”

    Which is to say, hasn’t expired and can’t expire.

  10. “…Minneapolis may follow the example of Camden, New Jersey, and completely eliminate its local police department (and union) and then start over with county law enforcement.”

    A good start is to move away from unelected and unaccountable police to an elected and accountable sheriff. Reviving / reinvigorating the old tradition of elected town or city constables; but, now, tasking this most independent and closely accountable LEO with stringently policing the police would be a solid next step.

    1. Worked for Sherriff Joe Arpaio!

      1. Arpaio did not get rid of bad cops. He encouraged them.

        1. True, but the people do have a chance to remove him without violence. But even in 1946 that was almost impossible.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946)

          Still, it has happened and is a LOT easier than removing a bad police officer.

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  12. In addition to supporting the elimination of any requirements to join or pay dues to any government union, I also support the elimination of all government unions.

  13. So the Chief openly admits he cannot do the job he is paid to do, and intends to spend tax dollars to have outsiders do his job for him.
    The same applies to the city council that is not doing the job they were elected to do.
    Of course, democrats never expect themselves to do what they were elected to do.

    1. The ‘outsiders’ are likely his old college buddies who now work for the IRS…

  14. This is exactly the direction that needs to be taken. Very overdue.

  15. What I don’t understand is why a liberal city in a liberal state with a black police chief hasn’t already fixed its ‘racist’ police department.

    1. Not liberal. Minnesota is an authoritarian state.

      Look up Woodrow Wilson the ‘father of the American progressives’.
      https://www.heritage.org/political-process/report/woodrow-wilson-godfather-liberalism

      As I recall, on his first day in office, he fired and banned all blacks from civil service.

      Progressives are the racists. Always have been.

    2. Because Trump? (a wild guess)

  16. Good for Minneapolis, now do all gov’t employment “At Will” .

  17. The far left or BDS is reporting that U.S. cops (including Minneapolis) train with Israeli cops, with pictures of Israeli cops performing the chokehold and knee holds. I have no idea if its true, or B.S., fakenews? If this is true and evidence is presented it goes mainstream, expect this shitstorm to go into overdrive. As if the U.S. needs more violence, destruction and division. Sigh(

  18. Kroll isn’t wrong. Floyd was a violent criminal. We know his arrest record. Normal, well adjusted people don’t hold pregnant women at gunpoint during robberies. I hate how so many people are making him out as a saint and saying we’re speaking ill of the dead if we criticize them. Would you say that if he had killed someone himself? How do you think Floyd’s victims feel? If he is a saint and a criminal, what are they?

    It is horrifying, regardless of ideology, that every news platform has rushed to draw conclusions without having all the facts. We have surveillance camera footage from the street. We can visibly see Floyd is high and out of his mind and repeatedly resists arrest. We know that we have conflicting autopsy reports, but that the initial autopsy did not declare Chauvin’s actions as the cause of death. Why is anyone taking a side other than the side of truth and due process? Have you all memoryholed the past four years of the BLM movement and all the riots they caused based on bullshit? Did you already forget the Gentle Giant, who attacked a police officer in his cruiser for no reason and attempted to murder him with his own gun? Remember how his friend and peers lied about seeing the confrontation? Remember lies like “Hands up, don’t shoot” and supposedly being summarily executed with 6 shots to the back which were later confirmed as being 100% frontal entry? Remember how it all supposedly happened in the street even though we had both parties’ blood and multiple shells fired inside the police cruiser?

    I don’t know how much more clownworld I can take. You all are insane. I hope the lynch mob gets what is coming their way. Fuck Reason staff for abandoning all reason and commitment to the Constitution in their coverage of this case. Shame on all of you who rush to judgment. I can admit that the video evidence doesn’t look good and I don’t have to kiss the ring. I don’t like police use of force from a systemic perspective and I want to see changes. We can call for such changes without making audacious assertions and ignoring due diligence. We don’t need race riots and international outrage to justify such changes.

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