Minneapolis City Council OKs contentious police union pact
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis City Council approved a police union contract Thursday over complaints by activists and others that the deal leaves out new disciplinary rules necessitated by a series of high-profile police killings in recent years.
The council voted 8-5 in favor of the contract after a nearly hourlong debate that became heated at times, partly on whether the city should was setting a precedent by bowing down to the union’s threat of arbitration. Mayor Jacob Frey said he will not stand in the way of the agreement.
“Is this contract perfect? No, it’s not. That’s the nature of any negotiation is that you don’t get everything you want,” Frey said in a news conference.
Activists cited the death of George Floyd as one of the reasons to push for much-needed reforms. Floyd was a 46-year-old Black man who died after an officer pinned him to the ground with his knee for 9 1/2 minutes. It sparked protests throughout the world.
However, elected leaders in Minnesota believe disciplinary changes are best left to policy manuals that don’t require negotiation with the union.
There are changes in the contract that give the police chief wider latitude on assigning officers who return from a “critical incident” and that increase health screening requirements for those officers.
The agreement includes raises and $7,000 retention bonuses for new and existing officers who meet certain requirements. An officer who graduates from the academy should make about $74,000 per year with the chance for bonuses based on work shifts and longevity.