MINNEAPOLIS - The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to name Medaria Arradondo as its new police chief in the wake of last month's fatal shooting of an unarmed Australian woman by an officer responding to her 911 call.
Arradondo becomes the first African-American police chief in Minneapolis' 150-year history. He has been acting chief since Mayor Betsy Hodges asked Chief Janee Harteau to step down last month, and received a standing ovation after the City Council voted to confirm his appointment.
“Today is a big day for Minneapolis,” Mayor Betsy Hodges said. “Today, we are asking a child of Minneapolis, of the Southside, for the last 28 years an officer who has risen the ranks of our department, to take on the top job in our police department. This is a great challenge, and a great opportunity. We are asking him to take on the top job at an unprecedented time, and I’m confident that he’s ready to serve in this powerful moment of transformation. I look forward to the great work we’re going to do together for people Minneapolis.”
Council members didn't take long to consider Arradondo's appointment and marked the final decision with applause.
Medaria Arradondo becomes the first African American police chief in Minneapolis history pic.twitter.com/v0Ywgrnycy— John Croman (@JohnCroman) August 18, 2017
Arradondo is a 28-year veteran of the MPD, having joined the department in 1989. He has served as a school resource officer, north side patrolman, internal afffairs and property crime investigator, and as 1st precinct investigator and chief of staff.
"Public safety is a top priority for Minneapolis, and my hope is that Rondo will strengthen the Police Department's relations with the people they serve," said Council Member Blong Yang, who chairs the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Emergency Management committee. "He is well respected in the community and among his fellow officers. I welcome this historic change in MPD leadership."
When he arrived to speak with the media following the vote Arradondo was accompanied by longtime civil rights activist and educator Josie Johnson. Dr. Johnson acknowledged that the media are by nature and training skeptical and critical of leaders, but urged reporters to "pay attention and be fair" when it comes to Chief Arradondo.
"Rondo," as he is known by colleagues and community members, acknowledged the city is still in the healing process in the wake of high profile officer-involved shootings, including most recently the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. The Australian immigration was shot July 15 by Officer Mohammed Noor, who fired at her from the passenger seat of a squad car as she approached the driver's side window.
Damond had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in an alley near her south Minneapolis home. Her shooting sparked widespread outrage, eventually leading Mayor Hodges to seek the resignation of Chief Harteau.