Bob Kroll is so unpopular even a guy like Bob Kroll knows he's unpopular.
This won't help.
The president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis has a long history of statements that've turned the local public against him. For a sampling, try this, this, this, and this, though feel free to search our website or the entire internet for more.
It seems the only people who really want Bob in that position are the cops who keep re-electing him -- who, let's not forget, don't actually live in Minneapolis. (Neither does Kroll.)
Kroll and the police union have kept a low profile since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four police officers went public last week, issuing a single tepid statement: "Now is not the time to rush to judgment and immediately condemn our officers. We ask that the community remain calm and the investigation be completed in full."
Kroll's on the record at length, as of this morning, though not at his choosing. A letter he sent to federation members was obtained by former Minneapolis Police Department chief Janee Harteau. Harteau, who clashed with Kroll during her time as chief, took the letter public on Twitter, where she called Kroll a "disgrace to the badge!"
In the letter, Kroll comemnds the police for their handling of the protests, saying they'd done "excellent police work" in "keeping your coworkers and others safe." (Emphasis ours. And Bob's, we suppose.)
Kroll says the police are up against a "terrorist movement," one which "dates back several years." Kroll intimates the police department could've maintained control, if only they had the 400 additional officers they'd asked the city for -- and permission to use "gas munitions and less lethal mutations" to disperse the crowd outside the Third Precinct.
"I know this because I've been in charge of three separate riot situations when police on the ground had the ability to effectively end the situation," Kroll writes. "This has been stripped. The politicians are to blame and you are the scapegoats."
Kroll then tells cops he's been avoiding public exposure lately because he and union staff have "simply been overworked and overwhelmed."
In a truly bizarre -- and frankly alarming -- portion of the letter, Kroll said he'd been in contact with Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, the state's highest-ranking elected Republican. Kroll says he'd provided to Gazelka a "detailed plan of action" involving the deployment of thousands of National Guard troops. Kroll writes:
"The Senate was going to try and run the actions that the governor has displayed he is clearly incompetent to do."
That'd be Gov. Tim Walz, a 24-year veteran of the... Minnesota National Guard. And the above would look like Bob Kroll trying to hatch a plan with a state legislator -- one who lives two hours away from Minneapolis, by the way -- to seize control of the state militia. Totally normal shit.
Kroll also says he's not sticking his head up because of the "negative impact and safety implications it would have" for police officers themselves. Kroll describes himself as a "visible target from the groups conducting this riot, politicians on the left [are] allowing it, and liberal media. My visibility during this time would only increase your danger. I've received countless death threats throughout this."
Why, what sort of things might Bob Kroll be holding back that could make this situation more fraught than it already is? Maybe something like what he'd written a couple paragraphs earlier:
"What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd. The media will not air this. I've worked with the four defense attorneys that are representing each of our four terminated individuals under criminal investigation, in addition with our labor attorneys who will fight for their jobs. They were terminated without due process."
In other words, George Floyd deserved to die, specifically the way he did. And the four guys who did it not only shouldn't face charges. They should still be cops.
Read Kroll's letter in full below.
A disgrace to the badge! This is the battle that myself and others have been fighting against. Bob Kroll turn in your badge! pic.twitter.com/SQmeNIIU3v— Janeé Harteau (@ChiefHarteau) June 1, 2020