Is the blue wall of silence starting to crack?

A man in a police uniform speaks during testimony.
Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo testifies in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin on Monday.
Screenshot of Court TV video

It was a highly anticipated moment in the trial of Derek Chauvin. On Monday, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified against his former officer, saying Chauvin’s use of force against George Floyd was not reasonable and not within department policy. 

“It is certainly not part of our ethics or values,” he testified. 

Last summer, Arradondo even called Floyd’s death a murder.

It’s rare for a police chief to offer such blunt testimony and statements about an officer, leading to speculation that the so-called blue wall of silence — a long-held belief among officers that they shouldn’t criticize their own — may be cracking. 

MPR News host Kerri Miller examined how some police chiefs are spearheading reform. How do they balance the needs of the communities they serve, the city leaders who hire them, and the officers they lead? 

Guests:

  • Bill Finney is a former St. Paul police chief and current Ramsey County undersheriff.

  • Rashawn Ray is a fellow at The Brookings Institute and a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, College Park.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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