Bob Kroll reaffirms suspicions the MPD is beyond reform

Analise Pruni and Mel Reeves/MSR News Online

Judging from a letter written to the Minneapolis Police Federation and an interview with Intercept.com,
Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll is determined to obstruct his superior’s efforts to create a kinder gentler Minneapolis police force.

“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,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey in response to Kroll’s letter.

While Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo have indeed taken positions of conciliation
and empathy, Kroll appears to be not just burning bridges, but intentionally taunting the citizens of the
city with his outrageous statements.

In his letter to his federation colleagues, he called those protesting for justice for George Floyd
“terrorists,” suggested attempting to circumvent the legislative process, bragged about calling on other
police departments to crack down on the protests, and said George Floyd had a “violent criminal
history.”

However, the letter sparked outrage, including very public calls for his resignation. Hundreds marched on the federation’s headquarters on June 3 demanding that he resign. The hashtag #Krollmustgo has
picked up steam as even the coach of the Minnesota Lynx Cheryl Reeve tweeted it out recently.

Kroll’s public comments further derail what little trust there was in the Minneapolis department. But as he consistently reminds his critics: he has the unwavering support of the federation and his views are
consistent with those of its members. Apparently, Kroll’s position as the elected leader of the police federation makes him untouchable.

According to a 2015 Star Tribune report, Kroll clocked at least 20 internal affairs complaints during his three decades in the Minneapolis Police Department.

“I’ve been involved in three shootings myself, and not one of them has bothered me. Maybe I’m
different,” said Kroll in an interview with the Intercept recently. He seemed to relish the police killing of Terrence Franklin who was unarmed but killed by Minneapolis police after a chase. Franklin had been accused of breaking into an apartment complex when police eventually cornered him in a South Minneapolis home.

Kroll seemed to be bragging when he said a good friend of his killed Franklin. “Stepped up and shot him
in the head at close range,” he said adding that, “the Franklin one was near and dear to my heart because
he shot two friends of mine, and a very good friend of mine was the one who shot and killed him in the
confrontation,.”

However, the Franklin killing drew outrage and a determined protest movement which sought to have
the police brought to justice for what appeared to be an unjustified shooting. Franklin’s lawyers, in a civil
trial brought against the City, made the case that the police gun accidentally discharged and that Franklin
never touched it but it was the justification used for killing him.

“This terrorist movement that is currently occurring is a long time build up which dates back years,”
wrote Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll in a letter addressed to the Minneapolis Police Federation. Former Minneapolis Police Chief Janee’ Harteau tweeted out the letter and called Kroll “a disgrace to the badge.” She added, “Bob Kroll turn in your badge!”

Kroll’s description of the protesters is consistent with U.S. president Donald Trump who also called
protesters “terrorists.” Kroll embraced the president during a rally in Minneapolis, which raised concerns
about trust because of Trumps poor record on race relations and immigration. But that characterization
has received quite a bit of push back from many who took part in the mostly peaceful protests to
demand justice for George Floyd who died in police custody on Memorial Day.

Related Story: Trust level plunges after Kroll embraces Trump

“Peaceful protesting is part of makes Minneapolis Minneapolis; our city needs peaceful protesting to
take the next step in terms of every single cause, including police reform,” Frey responded. “Using language like that [terrorist movement] is flatly wrong; it’s vicious and it’s just garbage. Period.”

Kroll, in his letter, fired off a series of accusations directed largely at politicians in response to the
handling of the unrest surrounding the killing of Floyd, while praising officers for their work.
“I commend you for the excellent police work that you are doing in keeping your coworkers 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. What has been very evident throughout this process is that you have
lacked support from the top… The politicians are to blame and you are the scapegoats,” Kroll’s letter
reads.

“Kroll constantly complains about the Minneapolis Police Department not having enough support and
fails to recognize that that lack of support is largely caused by his own words,” responded Mayor
Frey with frustration.

“Long regarded as an annoyance, Bob has proven to be a full blown ENEMY to the concept of safety. He
disregards the lives of even his own members,” tweeted Fifth Ward Minneapolis City Council
Representative Jeremiah Ellison. “An incompetent cop, Kroll is now the leader of one of the most hostile
PDs in the country. Officers treat their job less like a job and more like an ideology because of Bob’s guidance,” continued Ellison.

Third Ward Minneapolis City Council Representative Steve Fletcher also fought back on Twitter and
pointed to Kroll’s behavior as symptomatic of a grave problem. “Bob Kroll’s letter yesterday to the Minneapolis Police Federation membership showed us what rank-and-file officers voted for in their
leadership, and it is yet another sign that the department is irredeemably beyond reform,” Fletcher
tweeted.”

The Minnesota Nurses Association released a statement joining the Minnesota AFL-CIO in calling for the resignation of Kroll to “end to the systemic racism” in the police department.  “Kroll continues to minimize the killing of unarmed Black citizens by officers and promote symbols of “White power” within the department,” the statement read. “Union members must call out inequality, and nurses especially have a responsibility to stand up for their patients’ rights and well-being.”

In his letter, Kroll also accused the City of Minneapolis of “diverting funds to community activists with an
anti-police agenda.” Frey responded to the accusation saying that there are community
organizations that receive funds for anti-violence work. “Public safety is a macro topic that includes
community-oriented work like youth violence prevention, youth outreach, and [general] violence
intervention which includes community partners.”

When asked about Kroll’s claims that the four officers involved in the killing of Floyd were terminated
without due process, Frey responded; “The chief conducted a thorough review and made the decision
that the officers’ actions were worthy of termination.”

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