We need a signal from the mayor on Chief Arradondo’s status

In the last couple of months, this column has sought answers to the question regarding the future of Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, including concerns with the proposed charter amendment to restructure the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) so that the chief would report to the mayor and the 13-member council.

As interim chief, Arradondo’s job is to continue to lead the MPD until his term ends December 31, 2018.

With the end near, there needs to be a signal from Mayor Jacob Frey, who is the appointing authority, as to whether there is to be continuity or the time-taking process and turmoil of seeking a new chief from applicants across the country.

How will the whispers play out to the U.S. Department of Justice’s desire to place the MPD in federal receivership if it finds grounds?

Why isn’t concurrence given, as required under the provisions of the City charter? We are aware that some City Council members whisper that the chief is neither strong enough in his management of the MPD nor effective in providing public safety for a growing and prosperous population.

But, political agendas are not governing facts — hence the disturbing idea of having Chief Arradondo report to 14 bosses.

I submit and maintain that such whispers offer only false, agenda-driven analyses and premises, while the leadership of the liberal community of Minneapolis is silent regarding support for Chief Arradondo. Either acceptance or rejection should be stated with absolute clarity. If there is some reason for not supporting the permanent appointment of Chief Arradondo as head of the MPD, it should be put on the table and not discussed in whispers.

The department needs, and its chief must insist on, the strongest possible support and endorsement. At a time when the City of Minneapolis will be in the national spotlight in regards to national events (including the NCAA Final Four), the city needs a strong department and strong chief. In a word: Arradondo.

I say the interim chief has earned the permanent title and appointment. His being the first Black chief in MPD history is an added benefit to help include all so as to avoid becoming another Chicago.

I do not enjoy raising the question of race, but I, too, have heard the whispers and the statements of City Hall and DFL leadership in regards to the issue of race.

The attempt to impose 13 new bosses for Chief Arradondo to report to was a clear attempt to bring into discussion the long since discredited, yet still, notions by some regarding the intelligence and abilities of a Black man.

We must remember, that if not for the leadership of former Council President Barb Johnson, the coalition needed to support his appointment would not have held.

This kind of gamesmanship does not serve the city well and mocks our liberal pride.  It does not speak to providing an MPD working to keep the entire city safe, unlike in other cities.

Arradondo is needed by Minneapolis. He and the MPD are what keep Minneapolis from falling apart. As a progressive city, we must commit to doing the right thing and act with integrity and honesty. That includes appointing Arradondo to permanent status as chief.

Stay tuned.