Minneapolis Mayor doesn't want to share control of Police Department

“When an urgent issue arises I’m able to confer with Chief Arradondo and make a decision in matter of minutes."

Edgar Linares
July 16, 2018 - 6:52 pm

By Edgar Linares

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Several days before a vote is to take place on changing the Minneapolis City Charter to share police oversight with the City Council, Mayor Jacob Frey brings in more than dozen supporters to oppose the change.

Last month, Council Member Cam Gordon proposed a charter amendment question to be added to November’s ballot asking residents if the City Council should have shared oversight on the police department and its policies with the Mayor.

“For me I think it’s a critically important step,” said Gordon last month.

Gordon said when he joined the City Council twelve years ago he thought he would be able to change policies for major departments like the police, but he quickly learned the city charter only gives that authority to the mayor.

The idea to share oversight came days after the deadly police shooting of Thurman Blevins, 31, in north Minneapolis. The shooting happened after residents called 911 to report a man firing a gun. Blevins died after being shot multiple times in alley. During the meeting, community members called for more police oversight.

“One thing that [the city charter] does is that it sets it up like we’re some executive branch like the federal government where there’s a commander-in-chief of our police department, and I don’t think that’s what we even want,” said Gordon.

On Monday, Mayor Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo brought in more than a dozen city, community and business leaders to oppose the proposed change.

“The old proverb, too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth,” said Bishop Richard Howell of the Shiloh Temple in North Minneapolis. “Can you imagine, you in the public, having to report to 14 people at the same time to give accountability on your position. That is ridiculous!”

Standing next to Mayor Frey and Chief Arradondo where council members Linea Palmisano and Alondra Cano, who also oppose the charter change.

“I feel we should be enabling Chief Arradondo to lead, and this charter change is a distraction at best,” said Councilmember Palmisano.

Mayor Frey said he and Chief Arradondo should be the only ones sharing accountability of the police department. The mayor also said consistency is important to the police force, and decision-making happens faster when it is just them.

“When an urgent issue arises I’m able to confer with Chief Arradondo and make a decision in matter of minutes,” said Mayor Frey. “That same decision by the nature of the council process might take well-over a month.”

By Edgar Linares

A vote to refer the charter change to the city’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee is slated for Friday.