MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Since the shooting of Thurman Blevins by Minneapolis police last month, there have been calls for more police oversight and accountability. However, one idea to do that is getting pushback from the both the mayor and the city's top cop.
“As council member, I was vocal in my opposition to this move which would fundamentally alter our structure of government, which has been in place for over a century,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “My position now as mayor has not changed."
Mayor Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo backed by about a dozen business, faith and community leaders at a news conference spoke out to oppose amending the City Charter to require the mayor and City Council to share authority over the police department.
Right now, the chief only reports to the mayor. Supporters of the current system say changing the City Charter would dilute accountability and delay decision-making.
“The current structure of me as chief reporting to Mayor Frey affords us both a line of communication that is clear direct and expedient,” said Chief Arradondo. “This is always important, but absolutely crucial during times of crisis.”
Council Member Cam Gordon says the council has no authority to change police department policies and wants to put the question to voters on the November ballot.
"People are getting use to asking the City Council to do more and I'm beginning to understand we can't without some structural changes to our charter," said Gordon in a government meeting last week.
Some community leaders say the chief reporting to the mayor alone has worked for more than 100 years - so why change it now?
"The old proverb - too many cooks in the kitchen, spoil the broth,” said Bishop Richard Howell of Shiloh Temple. “Can you imagine you as a public having to report to 14 people at the same time to give an accountability on your position? That is ridiculous. That is not public safety that is a public nuisance."