Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified against Derek Chauvin today (April 5) on the sixth day of the former officer’s murder trial. Arradondo, who oversees the entire department and has held the position for three years, went over Minneapolis PD’s de-escalation policy and more.
While testifying, Arradondo was asked to explain the department’s motto: “Protect with courage and serve with compassion.”
“We are oftentimes the first face of government that communities will see and we will oftentimes meet them at their worst moments,” Arradondo said. “So, the badge that I wear and that members of the Minneapolis Police Department wear means a lot because the first time that we interact with our community members may be the only time that they have an interaction [with us]. So, that has to count for something.”
“It’s very important for us to make sure that we’re meeting our community in that space,” he continued. “Treating them with dignity; being their guardians.”
Arradondo also read a portion of the department's de-escalation policy, which in part states: “As an alternative and/or the precursor to the actual use of force MPD officers shall consider verbally announcing their intent to use force including displaying an authorized weapon as a threat of force when reasonable under the circumstances.”
“The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible,” Arradondo added. “You want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force.”
The police chief also said that witnesses of George Floyd’s fatal arrest were within their First Amendment rights when they filmed the encounter. While some officers may find being filmed “irritating,” Arradondo said, it is not considered obstruction.
“With the exception that they cannot obstruct the activity of the officers but they absolutely have the right, barring that, to record us performing our duties,” he added.
Police chiefs rarely testify against officers within their department. However, Arradondo let his feelings about the case be known last year.
“Mr. George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training — the training was there. Chauvin knew what he was doing,” Arradondo said in a statement last June after firing Chauvin and the other officers involved.
“The officers knew what was happening — one intentionally caused it and the others failed to prevent it. This was murder — it wasn’t a lack of training.”