Some Minneapolis officers vow support for department change

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Medaria Arradondo, chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, speaks Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Police Department will withdraw from police union contract negotiations, Arradondo said, as he announced initial steps in what he said would be transformational reforms to the agency in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Faced with calls from activists and a majority of City Council members to dismantle or defund the department, Arradondo also said he would use a new system to identify problem officers early and intervene. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A group of Minneapolis police officers on Thursday condemned the former officer charged with murder in George Floyd’s death, and said they’re ready to back the police chief’s promised overhaul of the department.

Fourteen officers signed an open letter Thursday addressed to “Dear Everyone — but especially Minneapolis citizens.”

The letter says Officer Derek Chauvin “failed as a human” and “stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life.”

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd’s May 25 death. Bystander video shows Chauvin, who is white, pressing his knee into the neck of Floyd, a handcuffed black man, and ignoring his cries for help, even after he eventually grew still.

The letter makes no mention of three other officers charged with aiding and abetting. All four were fired the day after Floyd’s death on a south Minneapolis street.

The officers who signed the letter say they represent “hundreds” of other officers and that they are ready to embrace Chief Medaria Arradondo’s plans to change the department. Arradondo on Wednesday announced the department was pulling out of contract talks with the union and promised other major changes are to come.

The fourteen officers signing the letter were mostly sergeants and lieutenants. The department currently has about 850 officers.

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