(The Center Square) — Outgoing Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender has filed an ethics complaint over a press conference Police Chief Medaria Arradondo held on Wednesday.
Arradondo warned residents of the consequences of approving Question 2, which, if passed, would replace the police department. The warning was made while he was standing in front of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) logo.
Bender’s complaint says the press conference violates ethics code section 15.110, which states: “A local official, employee or candidate for elective office shall not use city facilities, property, funds, personnel, the city logo, the city seal or other city resources to engage in political activity.”
The 30-year veteran said he had to uphold his oath to the 420,000 residents of Minneapolis and protect them. He requested an additional 400 officers by 2025, which didn’t happen. Now, his department is down by one-third. He said he’s lost nearly 300 officers since 2020 and is seeking a $27 million funding boost as violent crime in Minneapolis surges.
Question 2 has divided the DFL Party as some believe it will reform the police department while others say it goes too far. With voter approval, the proposal will remove the City Charter’s requirement to maintain a minimum number of officers. The police department would be replaced with a department of public safety that could include police “if necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the department.”
Arradondo cited increased violent crime as a reason to boost MPD funding. Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 11, there have been 530 gunshot wound victims, a 137% increase from 2019’s 223 victims. The city counted 75 homicides in 2021 in that time, up 114% from 2019’s 35 homicides. Also, the 1,569 robberies counted so far in that period was a 50% increase from 2019’s 1,041.
“This is too critical of a time to wish and hope for that help that we need so desperately right now,” Arradondo said. “I was not expecting some robust, detailed, word-for-word plan but at this point, quite frankly, I would take a drawing on a napkin.”
Arradondo said the ballot question wouldn’t solve violent crime or other persistent problems like the death of George Floyd in police custody.
“It will not eliminate tragic incidents between police and community from ever occurring in our city,” he said. “It will not reduce the disproportion of violent crime disparities involving African-American victims.”
Bender’s office hasn’t responded to a request for the complaint or a further statement.
“I will tell you what this ballot question does not address: For every 187 black residents in our city this year, one black person has been shot,” Arradondo said. “Just this year alone. A black resident in Minneapolis is 480-times more likely to be shot in the city than to be involved as a victim of an officer-involved shooting. A black resident in this city is 62-times more likely to be shot and murdered in this city than to be shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting.”