Statistics show that police officers from Minnesota who have had a history of misconduct or have previously been charged with criminal behavior often are reinstated back into the department.
Returning from disciplinary actions
According to the Wall Street Journal, since 2014, police officers who have appealed their terminations were reinstated approximately 50% of the time, as found in the records of the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services which stores a documented database of arbitration awards.
Study of the records showed that for the last 15 years, police officers from Minneapolis who previously faced criminal charges had been routinely allowed to go back to the department and that half of them are currently working there now.
The data reveals that those who have kept their jobs in law enforcement include one who punched a suspect in handcuffs and a deputy under the influence of alcohol who beat his police dog.
A previous investigation discovered that the phenomenon is a common occurrence across the United States but is more dominant in the area of Minneapolis where Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, killed George Floyd, an African-American man on May 25.
Chauvin was not part of the investigation as he had not filed for an appeal for his removal from the force. He did, however, have 18 previous complaints on his record, two of which caused the department to discipline him but no history of terminations.
Often, police officers are given special protections most other regular people don't have such as the right to appeal a case of severe disciplinary action before an arbitrator.
While the Minneapolis Police Department charged and fired the four officers involved in the killing of Floyd, it does not usually terminate its personnel.
Step by step reform
Mike Kjos, the assistant chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, said that the arbitrations do not show the entirety of the terminations, as reported by Star Tribune. Kjos added that they do not reveal the dismissal of officers until the end of the grieving process.
A news conference on June 10, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced his withdrawal from contract negotiations with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis. The chief also noted that the processes of arbitration and discipline have to be reformed.
Arradondo said that he was disheartened by the fact that police officers who have a history of misconduct or who were fired for such charges can return to the force through a third-party mechanism and continue to patrol communities.
In a news conference on Thursday, Arradondo, along with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and other officials, emphasized that if the Legislature is sincere in reforming policies, it will focus on arbitration.
The New York Times reported that Chauvin had been working with the Minneapolis Police Department for nearly two decades and had faced at least 17 different complaints of misconduct. None of which, however, derailed his career with the force.
After some time, a federal review urged the police department to work on improving its system of dealing with problematic officers.
Of Chauvin's many horrific encounters with suspects and civilians, he had only received two reprimand letters.
The turning point came when the problem police officer was recorded on video pinning a black man on the ground with his knee. For nearly nine minutes, the police officer kept his pressure on the black man's neck. The event caused Chauvin to lose his job and being charged with murder.