Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo spoke out against the effort to replace his police department Wednesday, sending a strong message to voters just five days before Election Day.
“As your chief, I feel it is my obligation to tell you and to share with you my honest position on this upcoming ballot measure. As your chief of police, I would not be in favor of this ballot amendment,” Arradondo said at a press conference.
The police chief was referring to “ballot question 2,” a proposal that will ask voters whether or not they want to amend the Minneapolis City Charter to replace the police department with a new department of public safety, which “could” include police officers “if necessary.”
It’s those last two words that concern Arradondo.
“Why those two words were even thought of to be included in that ballot, that is concerning,” he said.
Arradondo maintains that he wasn’t making a political statement, but one based on the “realities on the ground.”
“To vote on a measure of reimagining public safety without a solid plan and an implementation or direction of work — this is too critical of a time to wish and hope for that help that we need so desperately right now,” he said.
Arradondo said the supporters and authors of the charter amendment have failed to provide a clear plan for what will happen on Nov. 3 if the measure passes.
“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,” he said.
He does, however, know what the ballot question won’t do.
“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. 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,” said Arradondo.
“The public health crisis in this city involving our African-American community is not the [result] of someone wearing this uniform.”