Let officers do their jobs, Minneapolis police chief tells residents

Person wearing a law enforcement uniform speaks at a podium.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo speaks at a press conference on June 10, 2020 in Minneapolis. Arradondo said on Tuesday that he’s been getting reports of people interfering with police and emergency medical personnel, even as they’re administering life-saving procedures.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News file

Updated: 6:32 p.m.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo on Tuesday pleaded for patience from the people of Minneapolis as well as from his own officers.

Arradondo said he’s been getting reports of people interfering with police and emergency medical personnel, even as they’re administering life-saving procedures, such as administering Narcan to counteract opioid overdose.

“I’m also asking the community to not impede our officers while they are performing their lawful duties,” Arradondo said during a media briefing Tuesday. “It simply isn’t right, and it makes it difficult for those in the community who need services the most.”

The chief also said that rumors of large numbers of retirements or resignations among the rank and file following the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd were not true.

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He said seven employees have left since May 25, bringing the year-to-date total separations to 19. Arradondo said the total so far this year is in line with a typical year, when about 40 employees leave.

Arradondo said that a few of the officers he had spoken to were already planning on leaving the department because they were nearing retirement age. The chief, however, acknowledged that these are unprecedented times, saying that some officers have had rocks and bottles thrown at them while they try to do their jobs. So he recognizes the other officers he hasn't spoken to may have had different reasons.

The chief added that as many as 78 officers are reaching an age where they can retire and start to receive at least partial benefits.

As for the impact of the separations on the department’s ability to respond to calls, Arradondo said a recruit class of more than 30 cadets is ready to join the police force.

"They want to serve. They want to be a part of history and be a part of this new MPD that we're going to create,” he said. “That is why they are all still there and are looking forward to their graduation coming up."

Last week, Arradondo announced his plan to make sweeping changes in how business is done in the department in the wake of Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police. He said the department was pulling out of contract talks with the police union and promised other major changes are to come. His plan came as a veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council declared their commitment to defunding and dismantling the Police Department.