Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo already experienced a baptism by fire.
He was second in command in July of 2017 when officer Mohamed Noor shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk, a 911 caller who was unarmed and in her pajamas when she approached Noor's squad. Chief Janee Harteau, who was out of state at the time of the shooting, came home to a chilly reception from the mayor's office and soon after, resigned.
Arradondo was in.
More than a year later, the Minneapolis City Council is expected to appoint Arradondo to a full three-year term Friday. But as in 2017, the department once again faces community backlash stemming from the actions of police officers.
There have been two fatal police shootings of black men this year, a racist Christmas tree display at a police station and a public call for divestment in the police budget.
Still, Arradondo's supporters maintain that he's the best person to guide the department through rough waters. He's a native of Minneapolis who once sued the department for discrimination. He now says mending police-community relations is one of his top priorities.
And community appreciation was on display earlier this week as dozens of people testifying at a budget meeting in City Hall sang his praises.
Alisa Clemons, who is a former Minneapolis police officer, spoke out against a plan to move $1.1 million from the department's budget. She said Arradondo is already changing officer culture and has helped make the MPD more diverse than when she was an officer.
"I'm asking you to stop beating up on this man," said Clemons.
Like many of the people who spoke out against the budget shift, Clemons pointed out that Arradondo is the city's first black police chief and deserves a chance to implement the kind of reforms — like officer accountability and impartial policing — that he's promised to deliver.
Even the harshest critics of the Police Department typically refrain from directly attacking Arradondo.
Kandace Montgomery was one of several people who testified in favor of divesting millions of dollars from the police budget and using that money for other programs that encourage public safety without the use of sworn police officers. Montgomery said criticizing the institution of policing was not a direct attack on Arradondo.
And she encouraged community members to start seeing public safety in a whole different light.
"And I want to say that one of the first ways is really to divest from an institution that is directly linked to slavery and white supremacy in this country," said Montgomery.
Some activists who protested outside the 4th Precinct after the police killing of Jamar Clark in 2015 have praised Arradondo's actions in response to the Christmas tree pictured in that precinct. The chief removed the commander of the precinct. Arradondo called the malt liquor cans, menthol cigarette box and junk food wrappers attached to the tree located in the lobby of the 4th Precinct racially insensitive. Mayor Jacob Frey called the decorations racist and demanded the officers be fired.
Longtime north side resident Raeisha Williams said she appreciates the quick response from City Hall.
"We're really, really excited about the swift reaction both from the police chief and from Mayor Jacob Frey and their understanding that bigotry and racism cannot exist," said Williams. "And that we have to be very serious and adamant and direct about it."