Frey backs MPD chief's move on police union negotiations, believes it can bring change

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Wednesday he will no longer negotiate with the police union, so he can open up his department to real change. Hours later, Mayor Jacob Frey was praising the decision.

"It shows courage, it shows integrity, he has my full support," said Frey.

Mayor Frey repeated what he has said many times, that he’s fully behind Chief Medaria Arradondo and fully on board withdrawing from negotiations with the police union to force a complete overhaul of the contract.

"And, by the way, we’ve got a lot of leverage right now," said Frey. "We want to be able to channel all this anger and sadness and frustration into a shift in the way we do business and right now is the time."

Frey says it’s the actions of the union, the protective language in the contract and an arbitration process that frequently ends with officers returning to duty instead of being fired that are all long roadblocks to reform.

Like Arradondo, Frey stopped short of saying union president Bob Kroll should step down but made it clear they see him as a problem.

"Lt. Kroll has not been helpful in any way, shape or form to generating accountability, and measures of reform that we’ve been trying to see through," said Frey.

On Tuesday, Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison said the nine councilmembers voting to replace the MPD are doing it because of the union.

"I think the reason we’re going this route is because the leadership in the MPD -- and by leadership, I don’t mean Rondo," said Ellison. "I mean the union leadership has made it clear they’re not going to be held accountable. They're going to resist accountability."

On Twitter, Council President Lisa Bender wrote she learned of Arradondo’s plan as he announced it, while adding that "the path forward for our city requires transparent leadership and meaningful, effective change."

Frey believes meaningful change can happen, if the union roadblock is removed.

"Let me be clear, it needs to happen, this really can’t be optional," said Frey.