(The Center Square) – After 32 years of service, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Monday he plans to retire from the Minneapolis Police Department.
“Minneapolis’ success has never been about an individual,” Arradondo said in a press conference. “It’s about that what’s been tried, tested, and true. The collective goodwill, fierce determination, and humanity of its people that has overcome our greatest challenges. The light of our city spirit will shine brighter in the days to come.”
Mayor Jacob Frey said he would announce an interim chief in the coming days, and that Arradondo will stay with the department through mid-January.
“Throughout his time within the MPD, he has been unabashed about his commitment to truth, to transparency, and to justice,” Frey said of Arradondo.
Arradondo was one of few Minneapolis public officials to publicly push back against the Minneapolis City Council’s failed push to defund the 425,000-person city’s police department. Arradondo opposed the ballot initiative to defund the police, which sparked an ethics complaint filed against him by the outgoing City Council President Lisa Bender.
With voter approval, the proposal would have removed the city charter minimum requirement to keep a minimum number of officers and would have replaced the police department with a department of public safety that could include police “if necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the department.”
Arradondo’s announced exit follows his October request for a $27 million funding boost to replace nearly 300 officers the department has lost since George Floyd’s death in police custody. The city has witnessed a surge in violent crime following 2020, which he cited as reason for a funding increase.
Arradondo said Black residents in Minneapolis are being disproportionately victimized by the rise in violent crime, adding that 87% of victims of violent crime are people of color.
Between Jan. 1, 2021, and Oct. 11, 2021, there were 530 gunshot wound victims, a 137% increase from 2019’s 223 victims. The city counted 75 homicides in 2021 in that time, up 114% from 2019’s 35 homicides. Also, the 1,569 robberies counted so far in that period was a 50% increase from 2019’s 1,041.
Arradondo has led the city through its most devastating moments in the last three decades, including widespread rioting that burned down the Third Police Precinct and caused $500 million of damage to the Twin Cities.
St. Paul Chief Todd Axtell, another 30-year veteran, also recently announced he won’t seek another term after his ends in June.
According to the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), 314 officers have been shot nationwide while on duty in 2021, 58 of whom died.
“We are on pace this year to see the highest number of officers shot in the line of duty in one year ever recorded,” FOP president Patrick Yoes told Fox News last week.