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Minneapolis Community Group Sits Down With Police Leaders To Create Roadmap For Transformation

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Community members are plotting a course forward with the Minneapolis Police Department and the Police Officers Federation at the table.

Members of the Unity in Community Mediation Team (UCMT) introduced a roadmap for transformation of police culture in Minneapolis Wednesday. The team is reaching out to the 44% of Minneapolis residents who voted Tuesday for the dismantling of MPD in favor of a Department of Public Safety.

The team and police representatives created a new draft of a 2003 Memorandum of Agreement, which protects human, civil and legal rights of all residents regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

"There's a thread that lines this whole document, every section, and that thread is the sanctity of human life," said UCMT's Rev. Ian Bethel. "[The memorandum] talks about a police community relations council that has teeth, mental and behavioral health and disability issues, diversity on the workforce, cultural awareness and sensitivity, the duty of care in the Minneapolis Police Department."

Rev. Ian Bethel of the Unity in Community Mediation Team
Rev. Ian Bethel (credit: CBS)

There were more than 70 action items involved. The hope is to engage community to see what stays and what goes to get to a final draft that serves and mutually benefits all communities.

"We have been at the table while others were pouring money in this city and doing dastardly things to divide us," Bethel said. "The Unity in Community Team has been at the table, have worked over a year and a half since the day after George Floyd, and we now present this document to the citizens of Minneapolis."

What's different this time around is MPD and its union are at the table taking part in discussion about reform.

"We thought this was a really good opportunity to bring … us as the union together with some people in the community and listen to what their concerns were with police," said Sgt. Sherral Schmidt, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis.

Schmidt says rank-and-file officers were quiet while Minneapolis residents decided what they wanted going forward with public safety. Now that the votes are in and MPD stays, talks can focus on true transformation and reform.

"We are obviously very happy with how the charter amendment turned out," Schmidt said.

Sgt. Sherral Schmidt Minneapolis Police Union President
Sgt. Sherral Schmidt (credit: CBS)

The plan moving forward will focus on transformation, reform, transparency, accountability and consequences both with MPD and the community.

"We all have this common goal, right? We want the best officers in the state, we want to have a department that's trusted, that the community wants to be policing in their community," Schmidt said.

But they can't do it alone. The hope is the 44% who voted against MPD and in favor of a Department of Public Safety take a seat at the table and join the discussion on how to move forward with police reform.

"We are also concerned about the 44% who voted yes. The truth be told we all want the same thing, and this morning we are seriously reaching out to you and asking you to join us," Bethel said.

The draft was given to Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington and Sgt. Schmidt.

The UCMT Team says it hopes to hear from supporters of Yes 4 Minneapolis to secure their seat at the table for discussion.

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