DOJ offers to help reform Minneapolis Police, but will City Council approve?

The U.S. Department of Justice is offering to help the effort to re-make the Minneapolis Police Department. But so far, the city hasn't accepted.

The Justice Department announced that Minneapolis will be the first to get help by reforming their recruiting, training and use of force rules. While the chief and the mayor are on board, the city council is not.

“These resources that are being offered today, I’m very grateful and I’m hopeful we will take advantage of them,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.

Katherine Sullivan with the DOJ announced that they have created a law enforcement training and technical assistance response center. The center would focus on officer training, excessive force policies, and mental health of law enforcement. It will provide $3 million in grant money to help reform the department.

“I’m excited and I’m encouraged about the offer for the response center to the City of Minneapolis," said Chief Arradondo. "We have been and I have been working on our plans for a new MPD and this would be a key component to that."

The hitch is the city hasn’t approved the offer. The chief said there are still legal issues to resolve.

DOJ staff met with community leaders Tuesday afternoon at City Hall. Two hours later, those community leaders came out and it was clear they were not happy with the city council.

“Our current city council is not open and very reluctant to accepting the assistance of the Department of Justice,” said Cathy Spann of the Jordan Area Community Council.    

The community leaders said they were told the city council is standing in the way - and they believe it’s purely political.

“The only reason you would say no is because you want this chief to crash and burn, and you want this city to continue to die,” said Lisa Clemons, activist with A Mother’s Love.

“Here’s the reality: we are under siege in north Minneapolis,” Spann added. “We need all hands on deck, but our city council is reluctant, they’re resistant, they’re not open right now today to working with or open to different types of ideas.”