(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced his decision to postpone contract negotiations with the police union representing the city’s officers in order to conduct a more thorough review of the proposed contract and its provisions. Chief Arradondo intends to restructure the contract to provide more transparency and flexibility for reform. The following is a statement from Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“Historically, police unions have crippled the ability of police departments, local governments, and the public to investigate, discipline and hold accountable officers who engage in misconduct and use deadly force without basis. In too many cities, police unions use restrictive collective bargaining agreements as an obstacle to the reforms needed to improve policing, address racial bias or promote accountability. Mandatory arbitration procedures that reinstate officers that are fired for misconduct and procedures that insulate complaints from public disclosure all contribute to a culture of police impunity. We hope that Minneapolis and other cities will seriously reexamine their police union contracts to ensure that they do not undermine accountability and put their citizens at risk.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in written testimony submitted to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, identified a number of the issues that should be considered in police union contract negotiations that impede reform.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.