Who can criticize Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, for doing and saying anything to defend his police officers. He has done it passionately and enthusiastically. That is his job as a union representative.
He has not always been tactful doing it but he has done it well.
Where the problem lies is that he is the chosen representative of you, the actual officers in Minneapolis. This is the person who people perceive as the best of you. Bob Kroll is your man. The problem is he is perceived as racist and a bad cop.
I’m not calling him a racist or a bad cop. I do not know what is in his heart. But many people think he is that’s a problem. He was suspended in 2004 and cost the city money in a settlement for, allegedly, beating people up while off duty at an Art-A-Whirl in Northeast. He cost the city $60,000 in 2002 for another settlement after he, allegedly, and a dozen other officers beat up and humiliated Native Americans in their home.
The most outrageous thing in his record was his involvement when five of your fellow officers sued the city over hostile work environment in 2007. Kroll was accused of calling Keith Ellison a terrorist and having a white power patch on his motorcycle jacket. Again the case was settled out of court. There are more accusations but these I mention because the actually cost the city, and the people of Minneapolis, money.
Maybe that would be fine if he was just another officer on the force. But you the police officers chose Bob Kroll to represent you. A man who fellow officers accused of racism! He is the person YOU put forward to represent what is great and honorable about Minneapolis police officers.
It doesn’t matter if any of it is true. People’s perception of him is that he is racist and a bad cop. You who have chosen him to represent your Union values. That perpetuates the perception that the Minneapolis police department is filled with racists and bad cops. If you want that perception to change, change the person who represents you.
Toby Sterling @TobySterl