Jun 10, 2020
Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo Press Conference Transcript June 10
Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo held a press conference June 10 with the media. Read the full transcript here.
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Chief Medaria Arradondo: (02:07)
Good morning, everyone. I first want to acknowledge that Mr. Floyd was laid to rest yesterday. I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to Mr. Floyd’s family and community. To the men and women of the MPD, both our sworn and civilian team members who have expressed to me over the past two weeks that they are not that former officer who I refuse to mention his name in this space. I want to say thank you for your continued professional services, public servants, during some of the most challenging and dynamic situations that our city has experienced. To our cities, residents and business owners. I want to say that I am deeply sorry for what you’ve had to endure as well, these past several weeks.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (03:06)
I wish that I could carry those burdens on my shoulders alone so that you did not have to, but I will tell you that I’m committed to making sure that moving forward, we will get better. As chief, I took an oath of office in ensuring the public safety of this city’s residents, businesses and visitors. And I’m here to tell you, you will not be abandoned. Over the past several days I have heard from families and individuals who were concerned that if they were in need of a police response, that they would not get one. And I’m here to also tell you that we will be here for you. To our Minneapolis community members, faith leaders, social justice advocates, civic and youth leaders, along with the esteemed leadership of our local Urban League and NWACP, and also our community elders.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (04:09)
I want to say thank you for our continued ongoing dialogue and solutions focused conversations. But what our city needs now more than ever is a pathway and a plan that provides hope, reassurance, and actionable measures of reform. Because I work for and serve the people this work must be transformational, but I must do it right. Now, this will not be accomplished overnight. It will take time, but I am confident that by being both vulnerable and shaping a new paradigm of peacekeeping and courageous in identifying and tearing down those barriers that have crippled relationships with our communities and that have eroded trust, we will have a police department that our communities view is legitimate, trusting and working with their best interests at heart.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (05:15)
Now, today I will highlight just a few of these key areas in my plan, and I will be scheduling additional media briefings and press statements over the course of the next several days and weeks. Beginning today, as chief, I am immediately withdrawing from the contract negotiations with the Minneapolis police Federation. I plan to bring in subject matter experience and advisors to conduct a thorough review of how the contract can be restructured to provide greater community transparency and more flexibility for true reform. Now, this is not about employees benefits or wages, or salaries, but this is further examining those significant matters that touch on such things as critical incident protocol or use of force, the significant role that supervisors play in this department.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (06:12)
And also the discipline process to include both grievances and arbitration. Now, I believe I speak for my chief peers here in the state of Minnesota, as well as across our country, that there is nothing more debilitating to achieve from an employment matter perspective that when you have grounds to terminate an officer for misconduct and you’re dealing with a third party mechanism that allows for that employee to not only be back on your department, but to be patrolling in your communities. A second key measure of my plan of reform is to integrate new systems that use research on police behavior to connect officer performance data, so department leaders can identify early warning signs of misconduct and provide proven strategies to intervene.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (07:04)
Now, why hasn’t reform in this area worked in the past? The academic experts who’ve studied this have revealed that supervisory action alone to remove problematic officers is very rare and significantly absent in larger departments. So for the first time in the history of policing, we here in Minneapolis will have an opportunity to use real time data and automation, to intervene with officers who are engaged in problematic behavior. I’m also very excited about the generous funding and research assistance by our own Minneapolis foundation. As I close my comments before your questions, I also want to end by saying this, race is inextricably a part of the American policing system. We will never evolve in this profession if we do not address it head on. Communities of color, have paid the heaviest of costs, and that is with their lives and our children must be safeguarded from ever having to contribute to the horrific and shameful chapter of this country’s history. My plan will focus on imperative and respected community collaboration with an emphasis on the science of justice.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (08:33)
I was born and raised in Minneapolis and as a child growing up in this city, I did not see many peace officers that looked like me. And for the ones that I did, they were my true sheroes and heroes. Since I joined the ranks of this department, I have dedicated my service to not only helping but healing and I will continue to do that. Now, I also recognize that parts of this department were broken and I brought attention to that several years ago, but I did not abandon this department then, and I will not abandon this department now. History is being written now, and I’m determined to make sure that we are on the right side of history. Thank you.
Speaker 1: (09:26)
As far as questions go, we’ll spend the first five or so minutes taking questions from our local media first, and then we’ll turn it over to the rest of the group. So if you have a question, go and raise your hand we’ll call on you. The shouting stuff is going to be very confusing. So questions from the local media to start, Eric.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (09:44)
Chief, you have nine city council members who are saying defund police. Do you think your response today is enough to wash those calls? What do you say about the defund police movement in the city?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (09:59)
As chief, I am obligated to ensuring the public safety of our 400,000 plus residents. 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. I will not leave them behind.
Speaker 2: (10:29)
Speaker 1: (10:30)
Paul. Just a second, so Paul go ahead.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (10:30)
Chief [inaudible 00:10:31] I’m Fox nine news. Nice to see you this morning.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (10:31)
Good to see you.
I know you spoke about withdrawing from union negotiations, putting you on the spot here. Do you think the union president Bob Kroll needs to step aside, could that help you reach a labor deal that you’d be happy with and the city would be satisfied with?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (10:50)
I’ve had and continue to have very intentional conversations with Lieutenant Kroll. And what I believe is the best pathway to move forward for the city, for this department. And while I won’t go into the details, I believe he knows from my position, these are very serious conversations and there are going to have to be some decisions made moving forward. And so I will just say that I’ve been engaged in those conversations with him. I believe he clearly knows my position and I will continue to have those conversations with him.
Speaker 1: (11:30)
Do you believe that Bob Kroll is willing to change and willing to be a part of the solution?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (11:42)
I care deeply about this city and I care deeply about the men and women who are sworn in civilian on this department. We have to look into our hearts, what’s in our best interests. And so I hope that he will do the same.
Speaker 1: (11:57)
Speaker 3: (12:02)
Chief, you said you’re not going to abandon the people of Minneapolis. I’ve heard from some rank and file officers who are very disappointed here, what assurance do you have that there isn’t going to be a slowdown or people aren’t going to have their calls answered in response to the Minneapolis city council or to your own efforts at reform?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (12:24)
There is no doubt that what our city has experienced over the past two weeks has been traumatic for not only our residents, but certainly our men and women on this department. It is. It’s the reality. So I have to make sure that they have spaces to heal as well. But I will tell you that I’ve had conversations over the past couple of weeks and through all of these challenging dynamics, they continue to show up. And I’ve said before, that hope is here and I’ve seen it played out in our cities. I’ve seen it play out with neighbors banning together to help clean up around their shop area…
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (13:03)
I’ve seen it play out with neighbors banding together to help clean up around their shop areas, to look out after one another, but I’ve seen it with the spirit and the character of the men and women on this department who continue to keep showing up. What they’re experiencing is real. Absolutely. But I believe that we will continue to move forward and we’ll move forward in collaboration with our community.
Speaker 4: (13:24)
Reg Chapman: (13:25)
Chief, you talked about racism, how we have to attack it head on in order to deal with a lot of the problems that exist within MPD. Can you talk about your personal battles of racism inside of the department and what you’ve had to deal with coming up the ranks of MPD?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (13:39)
Yes. This is a 152-year-old department. With it, it has its culture. Some of that culture is good. Some of that culture is grounded in our American experience, and race is connected to that undoubtedly. My experience was bringing attention to some of those systemic issues, that race can have barriers in terms of promotion, hiring, retention, and just the environment for all people within this organization to feel that they can succeed and be supported. I have a lens, very different and unique from others, and so I will lean on that lens to make sure that I’m doing everything I can so that we can eradicate some of these same barriers that I had to experience several years ago. And that, by the way, that people of color in this department and women are experiencing. And so I will be continued to lean in and use that lens that I have to seek the changes that are needed.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (14:38)
But also I want to just make this very clear. American policing in this nation, we have to address the race issue head on. We are the visible, most first face of government in our communities, and our communities are crying out, and they’ve been doing it certainly with Mr. Floyd’s death, but decades before that. We must do better. We have to do better. And so we have an opportunity not only to change how we do business in terms of being peacekeepers in Minneapolis, but across this nation.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (15:09)
I do believe, and I’ve been talking over the course of the several weeks with my peers, with major city chiefs, I believe that the will is there both from a legislative standpoint, but also all of our chiefs across the country. We know that the time is now, and it would be the greatest disservice in policing if we did not use the will and the energy and the inspiration to make some significant changes nationwide as it relates to race and policing.
Speaker 4: (15:41)
Chief, in your remarks, you mentioned the use of real time data to intervene with problematic officers or interactions. Could you go more into detail of what that means and what the community would expect that to mean when these problems arise out in the public?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (15:57)
Yes. So what I can tell you is we’ve very been fortunate to bring on Benchmark Analytics, which is a national company that expertise and specializes in this. For decades the traditional model has been that a supervisor is the one to try to stay on top of a problematic employee or look at areas of concern in terms of performance. But we know that employees can change assignments during their careers. We know that supervisors can change assignment. And if we do not have a very systematic, robust way through data of tracking, that no matter where the trajectory of that employee goes or that supervisor, we’re going to have problems and we’re not going to see it.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (16:39)
I know that there have been questions raised about when an incident occurs. Well, Chief Arradondo, how come you didn’t know about this person’s number of complaints and what have you? We need to reevaluate that. We need to do it with real time data. We as an organization need to evolve and use technology to our advantage. And by the way, it doesn’t have to wait for every 30 days for an employee review or every year. We are able to be able to do this now with real time data. So I’m very excited about that being introduced into our organization,
Speaker 4: (17:08)
We’ll open it up now to [inaudible 00:04:12].
Speaker 5: (17:13)
Chief, you had previously said that in your view, the three other officers besides Chauvin that were involved in this case were complicit in George Floyd’s death. Attorneys for at least two of the other officers have said that they were rookie cops and that they were following Chauvin’s lead. What’s your response to that?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (17:32)
The policies that I put out for our department, those policies are not guided in years of service. I don’t put policies out to say that you should only react or respond if you’re a two year member or a five year member or a 10 year member. And if policies or subculture get in the way, then I expect and I demand one’s humanity to rise above that. And so that is my answer for that.
Speaker 4: (18:05)
Speaker 6: (18:06)
About those rookie cops, they were just a few shifts into the job. The only thing they really had to rely on is their training. Does it show that the training here is failing?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (18:21)
What I observed, and I want to be just mindful that obviously this case is under investigation, but what I observed was not training that I ever participated in. None that I observed other officers participating in. And so again, I will go back to when I helped craft the duty to intervene and duty to report back in 2016, it does not signify if you have two days on or 20 years on. We expect you to, whether it’s verbally or physically, to call up for help and to intervene. Mr. Floyd at the very least was expecting that.
Speaker 6: (19:06)
To follow up on that. Is being a rookie cop an excuse for what happened here? That’s what they’re saying. And number two, do you think these two changes are really going to be enough to make the sweeping changes at the department that people are looking for?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (19:19)
When our members put on this badge, our communities should not expect any service or treatment different because you’re two days on or 20 years on. We expect you to serve in a manner that is providing our communities with respect, dignity, giving them voice, and having neutral engagements. That’s universal. And so our community should expect us to respond. I don’t believe that during Mr. Floyd’s encounter with the officers that he knew what years of service those employees, former employees, had on, but he was expecting humanity that day. And it was not.
Speaker 6: (20:03)
To make the sweeping reform that people are looking for right now, the two changes you announced today.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (20:07)
Oh, there will be many more. These are just two that I’m highlighting today, but we will really be doing a deep dive. But I also want to just say this again. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been approached personally, emails, and phone calls from wide ranging members of our police department, both sworn and civilian. And they have unequivocally said, “Chief, that’s not us. That is not who we are.” And they’re committed to making sure they go back out there and they’re in the communities and they’re trying to rebuild that trust. And so it’s going to be a heavy lift. It’s going to be some hard work, but I’m determined that we are going to be on the right side of history.
Speaker 4: (20:48)
Speaker 7: (20:51)
Quick question. I just wanted to kind of follow up on the [inaudible 00:20:54] before we get too far away from that. A family of David Smith has spoken out in recent days. 10 years ago, and then appear to be a similar case at the local YMCA. He was pinned by [inaudible 00:21:06] to the ground and ended up dying. City paid out $3 million. The family, I guess, as part of this lawsuit had also been sort of promised some changes, at least in terms of training. Do you see a parallel between the two cases and are these officers being trained on how to restrain a suspect?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (21:24)
Yeah, thank you for that question. So again, the current incident involving Mr. Floyd, that is being under thorough review from both a state and federal level, and we certainly an examination of that. But again, our training is key in this. And there was nothing in that training that should have resulted in my opinion that occurred with Mr. Floyd. But in terms of Mr. Smith’s family, we will obviously look at our training and continue to look at it. And you mentioned asphyxial positioning and what have you. So yeah.
Speaker 8: (21:58)
Chief, you say you’ve got internal support for this, but we saw on Facebook some potentially inflammatory comments. Society seems to have turned a corner on this. Is MPD doing it? I mean, it doesn’t look like there… At least some of the people are getting the message.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (22:17)
I’m familiar with what you’re referencing. When I came into my role back in 2017, in our vision statement I specifically talked about social media and that you do not get a pass as a Minneapolis Police employee being able to put this uniform on a Monday, but then Tuesday going home in the privacy of your home and putting out on social media things that you would not stand and do publicly in this uniform. I won’t tolerate that. I won’t tolerate that.
Speaker 8: (22:48)
What does it say about the… I mean, do people have reason to doubt the sincerity of this department when things like that are showing up online?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (22:55)
Absolutely. And we are going to be judged by every singular action. Absolutely. And so that is why it is even more indicative and more paramount that we understand that… By the way, not only are we going to be judged by a singular incident that occurs within our organization, but we have the enormous responsibility of accountability to the other police agencies across this country who are going to be impacted by an officer’s actions. So absolutely our community has every right to question are other employees getting the message and it’s up to me to make sure that they’re getting that message loud and clear of what we will and will not tolerate.
Speaker 4: (23:36)
Chief, now that you’ve had a couple of weeks to look at the incidents that occurred in the wake of what happened to Mr. Floyd, do you have any better sense of who were the real troublemakers? There’s been a lot of conversation about people coming in from out of town. Do you think that what occurred here was organic or do you think it was manipulated?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (23:56)
That’s that’s a good question. So I know that early on there was information that potentially there were other outside influencers that had arrived in our city during the protests and the riots and what have you. I believe some of that to still be true in terms of the percentage or the amount of how many were from out of state. They’re still looking at that. But I will just say this here. We had never experienced what we experienced two weeks ago in the city. Never. I believe that Governor Walz has indicated that it was the largest call out of the National Guard in our state’s history. There were many things that occurred. And, again, I’m a product of Minneapolis. When I drive down Lake Street or Broadway Avenue, my heart hurts. We have not seen that ever before. And so regardless if those individuals from out of state or here, people were in pain. We also harmed our community as well. And I have to make sure that we never go down that road again.
Speaker 4: (24:58)
Speaker 9: (25:00)
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (25:00)
Speaker 9: (25:01)
Quickly, can you take us through that night? Bouncing off of him, it quite frankly was a mess down there.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (25:09)
Speaker 9: (25:09)
Outside the 3rd Precinct and I think people would like to hear from your perspective, not politicians, not any journalists, not anyone else, but your decision, the things that were going through your mind when you say the 3rd Precinct goals. We are not going to surround that and engage. We’re not going to do that. Many people have asked, was that the right decision? Can you tell us from a chief’s perspective, how did you arrive at that decision? Who else influenced you in making that? Or was it you and do you still stand by it?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (25:45)
Yes. That’s a good question. I would probably require a lot more time today to go into all of those details, but I will tell all of you that the night that you’re talking about, that was something that we had not seen. I had never seen in my course of my 30 plus years with this organization.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (26:03)
Never seen in my course of my 30+ years with this organization. We had multiple high risk civil unrest incidents occurring in our entire city all at once. The third precinct had some protesters who had breached the gates. At the same time, we had local businesses, Target for one, that was overrun by looters. We had liquor stores adjacent from the precinct that was overrun by looters, Molotov cocktails were being made. We had an AutoZone tire store that was being looted burning. We had multiple calls of shots being fired in the area. When the fire started, the fire needed police escorts to get in and I had men and women within that building who for practical sense, they were surrounded, and if individuals had got inside and they were outnumbered, the individuals, the officers in there would have been outnumbered. There was only a couple of ways that scenario would have ended, and none of them would have been good. None of them would have been good.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (27:16)
I did not want to see community members severely injured or worse and I certainly didn’t want to see the men and women who wear this uniform injured or worse. So I obviously had been communicating realtime the dynamics on the ground that evening with the mayor and at one point in time, he gave me the directive that we were going to evacuate and then I made the call for our teams to get the transport vehicles in there, get our folks out of there as fast as they could. My goal at that point you ask me as Chief Michael was to preserve life, to preserve life of our men and women, our officers and certainly for the community. There will be reflection, I will continue to reflect on that. There will be after-action reports on that. These decisions, you don’t always have the comfort of time to look at all the different options and variables but the one thing that I did have was I knew that we had people who ran the risk of potentially being killed that evening and so I hope that helps.
Speaker 11: (28:30)
Speaker 12: (28:31)
Chief, we’ve heard a lot about how the police union can prevent the change being made that a lot of people think needs to be made and you mentioned removing yourself from the negotiations starting now? Can you kind of paint a picture for people of the obstacle that’s there and how these changes could help break down that obstacle?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (28:54)
so contracts obviously have been in place and I want to say that I absolutely support the work of unions in terms of what they’re designed to do to help better work environments and workplaces for employees, but policing is very significant. We are obviously one of the few occupations that have the ability to deprive someone of their freedom, have arrest powers and can legally and justifiably take life, so our communities are absolutely concerned about how those contracts are designed and the impacts that they have on them. As a chief, as I mentioned earlier, it’s important for me to make sure that everyone is adhering to our policies. There is a character about this department that we should be aligning ourselves to. If there are impediments in the way of union contracts, that absolutely makes it difficult. When I have to go before community members and explain why an employee who I believe should not be wearing this badge is working back in their communities, that’s very problematic for me. That also can erode trust and so we need to … I need to as chief, step away from the table with the Minneapolis Police Federation and really take a deep dive in terms of how we can do something that has historically been … Something that has been in the way of progress that I’ve been hearing from many within our city, and so that is my intention moving forward.
Speaker 11: (30:22)
Speaker 13: (30:23)
Would you say Chief … It’s that union contract that’s kind of preventing you from actually managing your department? That that contract is standing in the way of you making sure that all officers are on the up and up and we don’t have an incident like we had here a couple weeks ago?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (30:36)
I think that it’s very clear that we have to evolve. I think that the traditional process in terms of the union contract are probably antiquated and are not meeting the needs of all vested stakeholders and as chief I think now is the time to step away from that and start anew. Yeah.
Speaker 11: (31:01)
Speaker 14: (31:02)
One of other question about what started all of this and I think again this is to clear up what has become a national conversation about that $20.00 bill. What can you tell us now about Cub Foods, what Mr. Floyd was doing, and the call that brought your officers to him and then we saw the rest? Is there anything new or anything that you could go over detailwise from your perspective that would shed more light on that so that people have facts and can stop with their personal opinions which may not be true?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (31:37)
So I will just say this here, I haven’t delved so much into the call specifics with the counterfeit bill and the original reason why our police responded. I do know that there was relationship to perhaps a counterfeit bill but I want to be very clear, there is nothing, there is nothing within that call that should have resulted in the outcome that occurred with Mr. Floyd. I want to be very clear. There is nothing in that call that should have resulted in the outcome of Mr. Floyd’s death, but we will be looking at all of these things during after-action reports and what have you but I appreciate the question.
Speaker 15: (32:24)
Oh sure. That’s all right. You have said that being silent is complicit.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (32:30)
Speaker 15: (32:30)
In the short time that I’ve been back here, I’ve heard from a lot of people who say the Third Precinct is a bad precinct, a lot of bullies, a lot of bad cops, Chauvin was one of the good ones, someone told us. So if being silent is being complicit, if you knew there were problems there, why didn’t you fix them?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (32:53)
That’s a good question. So I’ve only worked the Third Precinct perhaps a couple of months in my 31 year career and so I’ve been throughout the organization.
Speaker 15: (33:03)
But it’s not that big a department. It’s a few hundred officers.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (33:05)
Yeah, and so culture is one in which it can be very unyielding, but you have to continue to stay on it. I don’t believe that every single officer that wears this uniform would have done the things that occurred that evening two weeks ago. I have to continue to look at the different parts of this organization that could foster negative culture, that could foster negative reactions or relationships with our community and I will continue to do that, but I will say more than that. It is imperative for me to make sure that I have leadership within this organization. I can dole out policies to live long day, but that supervisor at night who is standing before that roll call with he or she’s officers, that’s who they’re going to really take their orders from. I have to ensure to make sure that we have the leadership that is trusted by me as chief but more importantly that is trusted by our community, that they’re going to be giving the right messages, each and every day so that we don’t … We can break away from these subcultures of different things. Cultures not obviously … Types of subculture not different to the Minneapolis Police Department or others. Yes.
Speaker 16: (34:27)
Do you trust the commander of the Third Precinct?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (34:31)
I have no reason not to trust the commander or the inspector of the Third Precinct. Yes.
Speaker 17: (34:37)
Any talk right now of body camera release from this just to [inaudible 00:34:42] public outcry just to see the entire episode from the body cameras of your officers who were involved in Floyd’s arrest?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (34:51)
So right now obviously as the Minneapolis Police Department, this is being investigated by two separate agencies so we do not have the purview of being able to do that. It would have to be a decision by those two different agencies.
Speaker 17: (35:03)
So the VCA, I know another [inaudible 00:35:08]
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (35:07)
Speaker 17: (35:07)
Has ordered them [inaudible 00:35:08] but right now you’re saying the MPD has no control over the body camera footage?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (35:13)
That is correct.
Speaker 18: (35:15)
Just on the bigger picture here, can this department be reformed and are you able personally to reform it?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (35:24)
Absolutely, and I think that we’re going to have to have the community’s support in this. Our police department is going to be here and we have to do better and until the day that that is not the case, we have to be committed each and every day, but as I said before, this is going to take time. It’s going to take time. It’s going to be a heavy lift and it’s going to be some hard work, but I do believe that we have the people, the men and women within this organization who are not going to let Mr. Floyd’s death be in vain, who are not going to let the actions of a few tarnish what they’ve worked so hard for and continue to work so hard for. So I do believe in that.
Speaker 20: (36:11)
What role do you think the public has to play in holding police accountable for their actions? For example, this press release went out after his death, that he had died of a medical issue or what have you and had there … I don’t know your thoughts, had there not been the video that was posted by a citizen showing it, would we have known about this? Would this have been something that would have even gotten on our radar?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (36:45)
That is truly what not only people here in Minneapolis have been questioning and talking about for a long time, but across this country. Are we acting truly in the best interests of our communities absent video? We should never have to rely upon that. So I am thankful, absolutely, that this was captured in the manner that it was. No excuse for the actions, so yes.
Speaker 20: (37:16)
In that same vain then, if you’re coming across something that looks not to be right and I have a camera on my phone do I pull it out as a citizen and record it and say, “Listen, this is not right.”
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (37:27)
Record. Record, absolutely. Record, call. Call a friend. Yell out. Call 911. We need a supervisor to the scene. Absolutely. I need to know that. We need to know that. So the community plays a vital role and did two weeks ago. Absolutely. Yes.
Speaker 21: (37:51)
Chief, you said earlier in the press conference that what you’ve observed on that videotape was not training you had ever seen. So if that’s true, where did the behavior that you did see come from?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (38:10)
I’ve struggled with … When I watched that video. I did not see humanity. I did not see humanity. So that’s the only answer I could give you. I did not see humanity that day from Mr. Floyd.
Speaker 21: (38:34)
So when the younger officers or the more rookie officers make the argument through their attorneys that they were yielding to the experience of Officer Chauvin, again, where does that fit in the … Where does that come from?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (38:46)
Again, and I have said this before, it’s a good question. We do not shape our policies based on your years of service. We expect you to be professional, we expect you to have a duty and care for life
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (39:02)
We expect you to have a duty and care for life. If you come into conflict with policy or a subculture, I expect your humanity to rise above that, and our communities expect that.
Speaker 22: (39:19)
Speaker 23: (39:22)
Chief, earlier you described your decision in detail to let the third precinct burn. You described the events leading up to it. There was already looting and fires happening and that it was a public safety threat for those people inside. I guess back up even more, how was that situation allowed to get to that point, to get to the point where the looting was happening. In other words, did you let it get too out of control too soon and were you caught flat footed?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (39:53)
It was obvious, and I believe there’s been public statements since then, that resources, this again, the number of civil unrest, significant high risk events that occurred that evening were none that we had ever experienced in the history of this police department. Did not have the adequate resources. But also I will say this here too, that to me being on the ground and to your point, that did not appear to be organic in terms of just based on emotion and reaction. There were strategic things that appeared to be going on at once in key locations, had not experienced that before. So again, I think it was a combination of things, but it was certainly something that I don’t believe there was ever a playbook designed to address major civil unrest, looting, riots, fires, shots fired, and over-running a police department, police precinct. So yes.
Speaker 24: (41:08)
What type of orders and instructions were officers given throughout the rides? Because we witnessed what appeared to be a lot of looters and riders having freewill to do whatever they wanted in many areas of the city.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (41:21)
Yeah. During that, certainly during that evening, we really, again, because of the coordinated events that appeared to be occurring throughout, preservation of life became the number one priority. You will hear that obviously there were many complaints from some of our community members that talked about lack of 911 response call. We had to have fire assisted with police personnel so that they could be protected to go in. At some point in time preservation of life and then property ,it became preservation of life. And it was very sad for me to see Target, auto zone, Mini [inaudible 00:41:59] Liquors, all of these others, but preservation of life became the primary function. And so, again, these aren’t done with the luxury of time, but preservation of life will always be that priority that we have to focus on at that time.
Speaker 22: (42:15)
Speaker 25: (42:19)
Chief, a lot of us local reporters know the work that you have done to kind of repair community relations, especially in the black community. Your message to the black community that have been screaming for decades, that they’re killing our sons, they’re killing our brothers, they’re killing our fathers. This community has formed coalitions to kind of protect themselves because of fear now, because of watching that video of George Floyd over and over again. Your message to the black community, how do they begin to trust again? How do they begin to call on you again, to help? What do you have to say to the community that looks up to you, you’ve got a community you’re a part of, that is hurting now, that’s dealing with a lot of trauma.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (42:51)
Yes. I’m not walking away from them. Many of the conversations that I’ve been having and will continue to have her with our community elders from the African American community. I’m leaning on them. Those who’ve experienced trials and tribulations during the 60s, when Plymouth Avenue burned during the Civil Rights Movement, those who’ve been here to fight down barriers so that I could be in the position that I’m in today. There’s much that I will continue to learn from them.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (43:24)
I believe we have the will and the experience to heal from this here. We do. They also know that organizational reform, it’s a process. This is not a sprint, but we have to do it right, I have to do it right. So those conversations will continue. But rest assured again, they’re also tired. They’re tired of chiefs and politicians standing before them, giving them words, and hollow words and rhetoric. They want action. And I’ve been listening to them and they’re demanding action and it’s needed. So that is my frame, and that is my goal and that is my North star compass as we move forward. This, people are tired. They want action. Yes.
Speaker 23: (44:23)
Chief, you talked about how there was no playbook for what played out when those riots started that night. How would you rate how your department handled those riots?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (44:39)
I will go back to preservation of life. Fortunately, I should say sadly, there was one homicide that occurred during the course of those evenings. There was a gentleman who was shot and killed outside of a pawn shop, and so that’s being investigated. Our officers were not fatally wounded. Our community members were not fatally wounded.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (45:07)
So as I stand before you today, that is crucial, that is the most important thing for me. But now I have to go backwards and say, “How do we avoid even that coming to be?” We should never have to, ever have to experience that again as a city.” And certainly Mr. Floyd’s death was the catalyst to that. His death can not be in vain. And so that also will be driving me.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (45:37)
But again, preservation of life, that was key to me when we were looking at the events that unfolded that night in real time, is making sure I could do everything I could to save lives.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (45:50)
Speaker 26: (45:52)
Chief, where did this energy against the media occur? Where did it come from? Because of the way the media was treated by this police department.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (46:08)
Sir, just for reference, where did the energy against the media, where did that occur?
Speaker 26: (46:15)
Why were the police department so bad towards the media in this riot?
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (46:21)
Yeah. To your question, sir, and I know that there have been complaints. There’s certainly been video of journalists who, whether it was rubber bullets and tear gassing, and I, for one, respect the immense importance that our media plays in not only Minneapolis, but our society and our democracy. Our media must be protected. They have to be. I’m so fortunate that all of you are here. This story has to be told. We talked about silence is complicit. All of you are making sure that this story is not silenced. And so one of the things, sir, that we will be looking at, and I will be looking at during this after action report is, why we’re media, journalists and representatives fired upon and teargassed and what have you. That can’t happen. That can’t happen.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (47:07)
And to our journalists here, my apologies to you and your colleagues who fell under some of that. So yes.
Speaker 26: (47:13)
Chief, Thank you very much.
Chief Medaria Arradondo: (47:15)
Speaker 27: (47:24)
Thank you very much Chief Arradondo. We Will start at 11 o’clock with our one on ones with the chief. We’ll start out with CVS and Affiliate. Fox and Affiliate, you will be on deck. We’d like you to be ready 20 minutes after 11 in this room. So thank you everybody for being here, for being flexible and working with me and my team as we made our way through this. Good day.