The Minnesota Twins announced Friday that they will be taking a fresh look at their ballpark security arrangements with the Minneapolis Police Department.
Though the division champions said in a statement that no changes are expected this season — when fans won’t be allowed in Target Field — they added that they were re-evaluating the team’s relationship with the police following the officer-involved death of George Floyd, which triggered nationwide riots in protest of police brutality. Four ex-officers have been charged in Floyd’s death.
Most local professional sports teams use MPD for stadium and arena security.
For this year’s shortened 60-game season, the Twins said they will continue to hire off-duty Minneapolis officers to help team security personnel.
“We have seen firsthand that there are individual officers within the MPD that are committed to creating a policing culture of accountability, respect, empathy and fairness,” according to the statement.
For the 2021 season, however, the team said it will decide on security staffers “based on authentic progress toward significant reform within the Minneapolis Police Department and/or a community-embraced public safety model.”
The statement said that the team encourages Minneapolis city leaders to be “tenacious” in advancing racial equality, and concluded: “There is no place for racism, inequality or injustice in our community.”
In a statement, MPD said it was “pleased and honored” to continue protecting fans during Twins games and that it acknowledged “the need for true reform and transformational change creating a new MPD with key stakeholders” such as the Twins.
The statement from the Twins said team officials had been in touch with Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo and praised him for “his integrity, ability and desire to create systemic change.”
The Vikings issued a statement Friday saying they need to ponder the issues involved before making any decisions.
Last month, Minnesota Lynx general manager and coach Cheryl Reeve pledged during a conference call to keep social justice issues on the front burner as the WNBA prepares to start its season.
Reeve noted the work done by star forward Maya Moore to free a convicted prisoner, and talked about the news that former Lynx guard Renee Montgomery has taken a year off to work on social issues.
“This is at the forefront of our minds,” Reeve said. “Playing basketball is what we do. The other part of us is wanting to make the world a better place for everybody.”
Reeve said that she’d be in favor of dropping police for added security but said the team may not have the authority to do that since Target Center — where the Lynx and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves play — is owned and operated by the city.
Shortly after Floyd’s death, University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel said the school was cutting some ties with city police, including contracting off-duty security for football games, concerts and ceremonies. Minneapolis Public Schools officials terminated a $1.15 million annual contract with the city to have police serve as school resource officers.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board also severed its relationship with MPD, directing Superintendent Al Bangoura to stop using police for park-sanctioned events and to block officers from responding to nonviolent calls. Commissioners agreed to create a new green uniform for park police to distinguish them from city police.