The death of George Floyd while in police custody last year sparked nationwide protests and placed Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the center of an ongoing debate over police brutality.
This week, that city’s police chief announced his retirement effective next month.
“New leadership and perspective”
According to reports, Medaria Arradondo affirmed his decision during a news conference on Monday.
“After 32 years of service, I believe that now is the right time to allow for new leadership and perspective, new focus, and new hope to lead the department forward in collaboration with our communities,” the outgoing chief said.
Reports indicate that Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey unsuccessfully lobbied the chief to serve one more three-year term before leaving his post.
He also weighed in on the development during Monday’s press event, asserting: “We want to make sure that we get the best, most talented person that is reform-minded, that is procedural justice-oriented, and wants to ensure the safety of every resident throughout our city. This is a responsibility that I will take very seriously.”
Arradondo, who rose through the ranks of the department to become chief in 2017, attracted national news coverage in the wake of Floyd’s death.
Chauvin trial impacts entire department
At that time, he fired all four officers involved in the Black suspect’s arrest and testified during the subsequent trial of Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video with his knee on Floyd’s neck. The chief stated that Chauvin’s actions “absolutely” violated the agency’s policies.
The former officer was convicted earlier this year and subsequently sentenced to more than 22 years behind bars.
As the incident put Arradondo’s agency under new scrutiny, he responded by implementing new measures limiting or banning certain measures used to restrain suspects. In the face of calls to eliminate the police department entirely, however, the chief warned proponents that such a move would ultimately lead to more crime on the streets.
Of course, the agency still saw a steady stream of resignations in the wake of Floyd’s death and Minneapolis has experienced a related uptick in crime.
Frey has appointed Deputy Chief Amelia Huffman to serve in an interim capacity after Arradondo steps down.