Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced his retirement Monday.
The retirement, which will go into effect next month, will end a decadeslong career in the police force most recently rocked by the murder of Georgia Floyd as he was being apprehended by Minneapolis police.
“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,” Arradondo said during a news conference.
Arradondo had been encouraged by Mayor Jacob Frey to stay on for another three-year term but ultimately decided against it. Frey joined Arradondo in the news conference and said he hoped to name an interim chief next week.
“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,” Frey said. “This is a responsibility that I will take very seriously.”
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Arradondo got his start as a beat officer in 1989. He made his way through the ranks and became the city's first black police chief in 2017.
He fired the four officers involved in the deadly May 2020 apprehension of Floyd, a black man, after video showed Floyd pinned to the ground and pleading for air before he passed out. One of the officers, Derek Chauvin, was convicted of murder. Arradondo testified during the trial, saying that Chauvin "absolutely" violated policy while restraining Floyd.
The department has faced allegations of racism, including as recently as last week when a white police officer arrested a black man who onlookers said had done nothing wrong, according to the Washington Post. Charges against the man were dropped.
During his time as chief of police, Arradondo passed several key police reforms, including the elimination of chokeholds in the aftermath of Floyd's death, as well as knee restraints. He also recently helped defeat the elimination of the police department, when city residents voted to keep the department instead of changing it to a public safety agency. Arradondo warned that ridding the city of its police force would have made the city more dangerous.
More than 300 police officers have left the department since Floyd's death in 2020. During this time, the city has experienced an increase in violent crime.
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Arradondo said Monday that he hopes he will be remembered for more than just leading the department in the aftermath of Floyd.
“I think that if there are two words or two things that people use to describe me and hopefully describe my legacy, it’s that I cared and I tried,” Arradondo said.