Former Minneapolis police union attorney: City can't blame all of Minneapolis PD's failings on the union

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo announced Wednesday the police department would pull out of contract negotiations with the union, as the city moves to react to the death of George Floyd's death.

With the announcement, the chief sent a clear message showing that he’s committed to reforming his department.

"What I heard the chief say is him making a statement, saying we are going to push for changes," said University of Minnesota professor Joshua Page.

As an associate sociology professor at the University of Minnesota, with a focus in criminal law, Page has dedicated a lot of his career to researching police unions.

He says the police union has become the target of critics as they claim it makes it harder to fire bad officers.

"We might see the city saying we’re not going to agree to that any longer and we’re going to play hardball with you," Page opined.

But high-profile labor attorney Greg Corwin, who represented the Minneapolis Police Federation for many years, says the city is overstepping its legal authority.

"By pulling out of the negotiations unilaterally, that’s an unfair labor practice," said Corwin. "That’s failure to bargain in good faith."

In addition, he says it could force the city to go to arbitration, which means a third-party will decide what’s in the contract.

"It’s a mistake in strategy on the city’s part," he said. "An extremely bad mistake."

Corwin adds it's likely a lawsuit is already in the works.

"They have to take some responsibility too," said Corwin. "They throw it all on the union but they're the boss, they have the right to hire and fire."