Updated: June 03, 2020 08:07 PM
Created: June 03, 2020 07:14 PM
The calls are getting louder for the head of the Minneapolis Police Union to step down from his post. Protesters and community leaders have criticized Lt. Bob Kroll, accusing him of perpetuating a toxic culture within the police department.
Hundreds of people gathered outside of the police union headquarters to protest on Wednesday, as some of the largest unions in Minnesota put their weight behind the calls for Lt. Kroll to step down.
“Bob is the president and what I believe is he really perpetuates a culture of violence towards people of our community, members of the black community and really all people of color,” said Bill McCarthy, president of Minnesota AFL-CIO, which represents thousands of workers across the state. “He’s setting the tone, he’s setting this culture of violence against his citizenry among the ranks and so he needs to go.”
McCarthy issued a statement on Tuesday outlining his concerns.
“What has happened over the last week and him asking for reinstatement of those four officers is just obscene,” said McCarthy.
Education Minnesota, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Education Support Professionals, AFSCME Council 5, SEIU Minnesota, and the Minnesota Nurses Association have now all issued their own statements in support of the AFL-CIO.
“We believe there needs to be an end to the systemic racism that seems to be permeated, pervasive within the Minneapolis Police Department,” said Bernadine Engeldorf, the first vice president of Minnesota Nurses Association. “We believe this is a public health issue that we have an obligation to speak out against. […] We see it in our hospitals, we see the results of assaults by law enforcement, and we see the results of racism within our own facilities.”
She said many nurses have been out providing medical aid to protesters and helping with cleanup efforts.
“They also live in these neighborhoods, we have hospitals right there in the neighborhood and we have great concern about overall effect on our communities,” said Engeldorf.
In the hours after the video of George Floyd's death became public, Kroll issued a statement asking the community not to rush to judgment and let the investigation be completed. He hasn’t released another statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS since.
Kroll also did not reply to multiple requests for comment on Wednesday or the many other requests made over the last week.
On Monday, former Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau tweeted a copy of, and criticized, a letter that appears to be from Kroll.
The letter commends officers for their bravery during the unrest.
It goes on to say, "What has been very evident throughout this process is you have a lack of support from the top. This terrorist movement that is currently occurring was a long time build up which dates back years. Starting with minimizing the size of our police force and diverting funds to community activist with anti-police agenda."
The letter also said the four officers involved in George Floyd’s death were terminated without due process and he’s working with their attorneys to fight for their jobs.
Kroll has been reelected as president several times. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has been told he will be up for reelection in 2021 or 2022.
“I call upon the ranks of the Minneapolis Police Department to ask for his resignation,” said McCarthy. “I think his own members should ask for his resignation.”
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to Mayor Jacob Frey for his response.
Frey said, “Bob Kroll’s resignation from the department alone wouldn’t heal the divide between our community and our police department. However, if he tendered his resignation, the City would certainly accept it.”
The Minneapolis Police Department is not commenting.
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