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Minneapolis police chief withdraws from union contract negotiations

Chief Medaria Arradondo said he wants the contract to be "restructured to provide greater community transparency and more flexibility for true reform."

The Minneapolis police chief announced his plans to reform the police department and said he was withdrawing immediately from contract negotiations with the city's police union.

Chief Medaria Arradondo outlined his plans Wednesday at a news briefing, weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

"I plan to bring in subject-matter experience and advisers to conduct a thorough review of how the contract can be restructured to provide greater community transparency and more flexibility for true reform," the chief told reporters.

Arradondo said the focus will be on "significant matters" such as the department's use of force, its discipline process and the role that supervisors play.

He said his goal is to have a police department that "our communities view as legitimate, trusting and working with their best interest at heart."

The union, Police Officers' Federation of Minneapolis, could not immediately be reached Wednesday. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey praised the chief's decision.

"We don’t just need a new contract with the police. We need a new compact between the people of Minneapolis and the people trusted to protect and serve — and we need to go farther than we ever have in making sweeping structural reform," Frey tweeted.

Arradondo also said he wants to integrate a system that uses research on police behavior so the department can "identify early warning signs of misconduct and to provide proven strategies to intervene."

In the wake of Floyd's death, there have been calls to defund and dismantle the police. When asked about cries to defund the Minneapolis Police Department, Arradondo said he has an obligation to protect the city's residents and will continue to do so.

"I will not abandon that. Our elected officials certainly can engage in those conversations but until there is a robust plan that reassures the safety of our residents, I will not leave them," he said.

Floyd died on May 25 after ex-officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on his neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe. The killing, which was captured on video, sparked massive protests across the U.S.

Chauvin was fired by the police department and is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers involved in Floyd's detainment were also terminated and charged with aiding and abetting murder.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said the state was launching a civil rights investigation into the police department aimed at rooting out "systemic racism that is generations deep."

On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council voted to pass new rules that would ban police chokeholds and require officers to intervene anytime they see unauthorized use of force. Over the weekend, a majority of the city council agreed to dismantle the city's police department. The next steps following the vote are not yet clear.