Police union head Bob Kroll says he’ll retire at end of January

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The head of the Minneapolis police union says he plans to retire at the end of the month.

According to Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Lt. Bob Kroll, he’s planning to retire at the end of January.

In a letter obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and confirmed by Kroll, Kroll told union members he planned to leave in May, which would’ve marked 25 years that he’s served on the union board. However, "After reviewing the bigger picture, it is in my family’s best interest for me to retire four months early," Kroll said.

In the letter, Kroll said he’s proud of what they’ve accomplished while he’s been on the board and believes the union "is in strong financial position to well-prepared to take on the challenges that lie ahead."

He also expressed confidence in POFM Vice President Sherral Schmidt, saying she’s "well-prepared to lead this organization."

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Kroll said the decision to retire was difficult for him because he’s seen "our noble profession has been demonized." He also criticized city officials for "pander[ing] to armchair quarterbacks" and not standing up for officers enough.

Community activists including Communities United Against Police Brutality President Michelle Gross welcomed news of Kroll’s early departure on Monday.

"This is a guy who literally thinks that police brutality is fine and has basically developed that culture in the police department and as long he’s there we can have no hope of chaning that culture," Gross said.

Following protests over George Floyd’s death while in the custody of Minneapolis police last year, Kroll came under fire as several major unions in the state called for him to resign, accusing him of perpetuating a toxic culture within the police department.

Protesters call for resignation of Minneapolis Police Union boss Bob Kroll

Protesters even gathered outside his home in August and called for him to resign.

Meanwhile, Kroll criticized Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and said the chief either needs to fight for more police officers on the street or "step aside."

Civil rights attorney and founder of the Racial Justice Network Nekima Levy Armstrong is still calling for Kroll to be fired.

"It’s just sad that someone like him with a long history of abusive behavior and rhetoric can rise through the ranks as president of the Minneapolis Police Federation," Levy Armstrong said. "I am hopeful that anyone chosen (to be union president) will be better than Bob Kroll."

Mayor Jacob Frey told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS: "The incoming leadership will have an opportunity to reshape how the police union engages community and City leadership. It is my sincere hope they appreciate this significant responsibility at such a critical juncture for our city. To Bob Kroll: good riddance."

1-on-1 interview with Minneapolis Police Union Chief Lt. Bob Kroll, and how the union is responding to George Floyd’s death

This is a developing story. Stay with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS for the latest updates on-air and online.