At least seven Minneapolis police officers have quit and another seven are in the process of resigning, citing a lack of support from department and city leaders as protests over George Floyd’s death escalated.
Current and former officers told The Minneapolis Star Tribune that officers are upset with Mayor Jacob Frey’s decision to abandon the Third Precinct station during the protests.
Demonstrators set the building on fire after officers left. Protesters also have hurled bricks and insults at officers, numerous officers and protesters have been injured and the state has launched a civil rights investigation into the department.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) told CNN on Sunday that the department is “rotten to the root.”
Mylan Masson, a retired Minneapolis officer and use-of-force expert, says officers don’t feel appreciated.
Chief Wants Review of Police Contract
On June 10, Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he is immediately withdrawing from contract negotiations with the police union—the Minneapolis Police Officer Federation—in an attempt to facilitate change within the department.
He is set to bring in advisers to review how the contract can be restructured to “provide greater community transparency and more flexibility for true reform.”
Mayor Jacob Frey applauded the move to suspend negotiations.
“We don’t just need a new contract with the police,” Frey said in a statement. “We need a new compact between the people of Minneapolis and the people trusted to protect and serve—and we need to go farther than we ever have in making sweeping structural reform.”
Arradondo said he wants to shape a “new paradigm of peacemaking” and will be able to have a police department that the community views as “legitimate, trusting, and working with their best interest at heart.”
In addition, the department will use data analysis on performance data to find early warning signs of misconduct. The chief said that data and automation will allow the department to intervene with officers engaged in problematic behavior.
Arradondo said that he recognizes parts of the police department are broken and brought attention to it several years ago.
“But I did not abandon this department then, and I will not abandon this department now,” he said.
After members of the Minneapolis City Council said they intend to defund and dismantle the police department in the wake of Floyd’s killing, Arradondo encouraged officials to be thoughtful.
“I think that any plans or any conversations about defunding or dismantling have to be thoughtful, they have to be mindful, they have to be based in fact,” Arradondo told CNN. “If it’s totally driven by emotion, lives could be at stake as well.”
The Associated Press and The CNN Wire contributed to this report