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First Black Police Chief in Minneapolis Leaves Much Undone

By DWIGHT HOBBES This commentary first appeared on the Minnesota Reformer, https://minnesotareformer.com It is difficult to countenance Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo’s betrayal of the Black citizens who greatly helped put him in that job. Indeed, before he assumed the position in 2017, it would’ve been unthinkable. But, well, here you have it. Rondo, as he’s informally known, did nothing concrete about the department’s occupying-army treatment of a population desperately in need of a strong ally, beyond mandating body cams. His ordering fewer marijuana stops is laudable but not much more than politically correct. And he hardly deserves a pat on the back for the no-brainer of firing Derek Chauvin and his accomplices, taking a bow by testifying in court. At length, however, he sided with the enemy, then, with the announcement that he’s retiring next month, he blithely went on about his business. When Arradondo’s name came up for consideration, the roar of support from Black folk, led by the likes of such veteran activists as Rev. Jerry McAfee, Spike Moss and Bill English, was not to be ignored. Had it been denied, all hell likely would’ve broken loose: protests up and down the streets and sidewalks in front of City Hall, demands for Mayor Jacob Frey’s head on a spike, the whole nine.  Rondo rode that wave of popularity to a position that gave him the opportunity to make change in which people could actually believe. And he’d proven himself the perfect person to do it. Rondo, hometown hero, came up through the ranks and, importantly, there was a time he was committed to improving the MPD. As a lieutenant, alongside Sgt. Charlie Adams, Lt. Lee Edwards, Lt. Dennis Hamilton and Lt. Don Harris, he filed suit to do something about the department’s entrenched racism, specifically a history of systemic discrimination and a hostile work environment for Black officers. The city settled for [...]

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