Community Leaders, Minneapolis Police Union Meet To Discuss Safety Of City Residents

A meeting between community members and the Minneapolis Police Union is an effort to create a new beginning, Reg Chapman reports (1:52). WCCO 4 News At 6 - March 30, 2021

Video Transcript

FRANK VASCELLARO: A meeting between community members and the Minneapolis police union is an effort to create a new beginning. Since 2003, members of the Unity Community Team have been working to reform the Minneapolis Police Department with the help of a federal mediator. As Reg Chapman reports, new leadership in the police union gives the community new hope.

IAN BETHAL: Our goal is to reform.

REG CHAPMAN: Reverend Ian Bethal has been working to reform the Minneapolis Police Department since 2003. That's when this memorandum of agreement was signed with MPD that vowed to protect the safety, human, civil, and legal rights of all Minneapolis residents.

IAN BETHAL: The federation with signatures on the original agreement. And so we're here today to reestablish a relationship with the federation.

REG CHAPMAN: For the first time, this mediation team, along with members of its Young People's Task Force, will sit down with members of Minneapolis Police Federation.

AJ FLOWERS: With somebody new coming in, I felt as though it was imperative for us to try to build a relationship to start with.

REG CHAPMAN: AJ Flowers and Nicholas Martin are co-chairs of the Young People's Task Force, who hope to work with the federation on police reform.

NICHOLAS MARTENS: It's going to bring in recruitment. The traumas that people have felt in the past, it's going to help transform that.

REG CHAPMAN: Union president Sherral Schmidt welcomes the conversation and chance to work with community.

SHERRAL SCHMIDT: Bringing these two groups together will be a great thing for the community and for the police department and hopefully moving forward. And what does Minneapolis look like in the next five-- even the next year?

REG CHAPMAN: Schmidt says listening is the first step, and that's easy when all parties involved want the same thing: a safe city.

SHERRAL SCHMIDT: I think this will help us move forward and hopefully all get on the same page.

REG CHAPMAN: Reg Chapman, WCCO 4 News.

FRANK VASCELLARO: People at today's meeting told the talks are giving them hope for successful relations going forward. They do plan to meet on a regular basis, and the federation has agreed to partner in redrafting the original agreement between police and the community.