Who is Medaria Arradondo? Minneapolis Police's first Black chief to testify against Derek Chauvin in rare move

The prosecution told the jury that chief Arradondo was going to testify that 'Chauvin's conduct was not consistent with Minneapolis police department training... that this was excessive force'


                            Who is Medaria Arradondo? Minneapolis Police's first Black chief  to testify against Derek Chauvin in rare move
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is testifying against one of his former officers Derek Chauvin (Twitter @skepticalbrotha/ Getty Images)

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is set to testify against Derek Chauvin, one of his former officers, in what is being considered a rare move.

The blue wall of silence is a code of conduct that police officers rarely break. But in the case of George Floyd's death from police brutality, the police chief will be speaking out against another (former) member of law enforcement.

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A picture of George Floyd hangs on a fence barrier that surrounds the Hennepin County Government Center as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continues on March 30, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chauvin is accused of murder in the death of George Floyd. Security is heightened in the city in an effort to prevent a repeat of violence that occurred in Minneapolis and major cities around the world following Floyd's death on May 25, 2020. (Getty Images)

"It's a pretty remarkable move on the part of the prosecution," Dr Cedric Alexander, former police chief and public safety director of DeKalb county, Georgia, reportedly said. "It's very rare that you're going to see a chief either appear for the defense or the prosecution. But each one of these kinds of events brings its own set of circumstances. And in this particular case, where you have a knee to the neck and it's being questioned 'was that trained technique?' To be able to have the chief of police... to under oath testify is clearly going to be of importance."  

Chauvin is facing three charges -- second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter -- in connection to the May 2020 death of Floyd, after he knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. He has pleaded not guilty.

Without commenting on the nature of his testimony, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury, "He is going to tell you that Mr Chauvin's conduct was not consistent with Minneapolis police department training. He will not mince any words. He's very clear. He will be very decisive, that this was excessive force."  

Protesters gather in Manhattan’s Foley Square to protest the recent death of George Floyd, an African American man who killed after a police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck in Minneapolis on May 29, 2020 in New York City. Across country protests against his death have set off days and nights of rage as its the most recent in a series of deaths of African Americans by the police. (Getty Images)

Over the course of the Derek Chauvin trial, which started on Monday, several emotional testimonies have been heard. A firefighter, a 911 dispatcher, a cashier working across from the street where the incident took place, a mixed martial arts fighter and a teen who recorded the video last year that went viral, and her 9-year-old cousin, are among those who have testified in court.

Who is Medaria Arradondo?

Arradondo is reportedly Minneapolis's first Black police chief and his record in the department is nothing short of impressive. 

In 2007, along with four other African-American officers, Arradondo sued the Minneapolis Police Department alleging discrimination in promotions, pay, and discipline. The officers filed the civil lawsuit based on "their own experiences on the force from when they were recruits training through their present statuses at the time in '07," attorney John Klassen, who represented the officers, reportedly said. 

The complaint had stated that African American officers were disciplined "more harshly and frequently than...white officers for comparable or more serious misconduct."

After the lawsuit was settled by the city out of court for over $800,000, in December 2012, Arrandondo was promoted to head of the Internal Affairs Unit. Following this, he was made a Deputy Chief and Assistant Chief. It was after the shooting of Justine Damond by former Minneapolis police officer Mohammed Noor and the subsequent resignation of former police chief Janeé Harteau in mid-2017 that he was nominated as Minneapolis's new Chief of Police by the mayor of Minneapolis.

Following the death of Floyd, he fired all four officers involved. Later, he also addressed Floyd's family directly and reportedly stated that all four officers involved were at fault and that he was awaiting charges from the county attorney and/ or FBI.

On June 21, 2020, during an interview Arradondo alleged that there was distrust for law enforcement in Minneapolis' Black community and that "we need good policing. We know it's broken. We need to make changes."

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