News & Politics

Minneapolis Police Union Chief Decries His Officers Becoming 'Scapegoats'

At the 4th Precinct in North Minneapolis, protesters demanded answers over the death of Jamar Clark who was shot and killed by police Civil rights leaders appealed Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, for Minneapolis police to exercise restraint but the head of the police union said officers should get tougher with protesters after a night of tense confrontations over the fatal shooting of a black man by an officer. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)

The police are under fire in Minneapolis following the murder of George Floyd while in police custody, and the politicians are piling on.

The protesters are calling for an end to the police department and some have been heard calling for the death of officers.

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis police union, wrote a letter to his officers that lambasted local politicians and defended his men and women’s conduct in the face of extreme provocation.

Star Tribune:

“No one with the exception of us is willing to recognize and acknowledge the extreme bravery you have displayed through this riot,” said Kroll’s letter, which seems to channel the frustration of some officers who feel abandoned by the administration and City Hall. “I commend you for the excellent police work you are doing in keeping your co-workers and others safe during what everyone except us refuses to call a riot. You’ve turned the tide of the largest scale riot that Minneapolis has ever seen.”

Kroll, who represents more than 800 Minneapolis and park police, went on to accuse Mayor Jacob Frey, Gov. Tim Walz and other leaders of refusing to “acknowledge the work of MPD” and saying they “continually shift blame to it.”

“It is despicable behavior,” Kroll wrote. “How our command staff can tolerate it and live with themselves I do not know.”

Kroll appeared with Donald Trump at the Target Center and called him “a great president” for supporting the police, so Democratic politicians have been calling for his resignation for years.

Kroll’s letter later surfaced on social media, where it was widely condemned as divisive and rekindled questions for some about whether real reform will ever take root in the city’s police force. Janeé Harteau, a former Minneapolis police chief and frequent sparring partner of Kroll’s, called for him to resign from his post.

“A disgrace to the badge! This is the battle that myself and others have been fighting against. Bob Kroll turn in your badge!” Harteau posted on her Twitter account.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, whose response to the riots was so confused and weak, that his fellow Democrat, Governor Tim Walz offered stinging criticism of his inaction, also called for Kroll’s head.

“For a man who complains so frequently about a lack of community trust and support for the police department, Bob Kroll remains shockingly indifferent to his role in undermining that trust and support,” he said. “His categorical opposition to reform, his consistent disrespect for civilian leadership, and his lack of empathy for the community have done more to undermine trust in police than any ‘community activist’ ever has.”

Kroll says the destruction of the Third Precinct building could have been stopped, but officers were prevented from using teargas by Frey. Instead, they were forced to evacuate and rioters burned it to the ground.

“Given the right numbers, the right equipment, and your ability to use them [we] would have ended this Tuesday night,” Kroll wrote. “I know this because I’ve been in charge of three separate riot situations when the police on the ground had the ability to make the tactical decisions to effectively end the situation.

“The politicians are to blame and you are the scapegoats,” he said.

This is the future of policing in America. “Reforms” will hogtie officers and make any stop an adventure in red tape. Officers will be discouraged from stopping anyone for any reason given that each situation is fraught with peril.

There are reforms that can be made to policing without castrating them. But it’s hard to trust liberal politicians and activists who look to destroy the police rather than reform them.

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