Minneapolis police union finally gets its vandal

The police union asked for help catching a serial vandal, who was caught by surveillance cameras outside their offices in northeast.

The police union asked for help catching a serial vandal, who was caught by surveillance cameras outside their offices in northeast. Minneapolis Police - Facebook

The vandal’s choices of weaponry were pretty harmless at first. 

Not long after the parking lot at the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis headquarters had gotten a fresh paving, someone scrawled messages in chalk. 

“No Police State,” one said.

Another read, “ACAB,” the acronym for “all cops are bastards.”  

Federation staff would arrive at the University Avenue NE office on Monday mornings to find stickers with similar themes slapped across the address on the building’s glass doors.

In the summer of 2016, the vandal decided to up the stakes. The same kind of messages were spray painted on the asphalt. They turned brazen, spraying the building’s brick façade with graffiti.

As the end of summer approached, Union President Bob Kroll had enough. He emailed officers in the Second Precinct, where the headquarters is located. He wanted their help catching the culprit.

“… [P]lease provide extra patrol overnights,” Kroll wrote. “Feel free to camp out in the lot while writing reports etc.”

His plea was accompanied by a reward offer. Kroll would spring for dinner and drinks for two at Jax Café “for any arrest made of the individuals responsible.”

No arrests would be forthcoming, but the Minneapolis Police Department under then-Chief Janee Harteau swiftly initiated an internal affairs investigation. Three hours after Kroll’s mass email, the Federation chief was told he’d violated the department’s code of conduct, as well as the ethics code for city employees.

Officers can’t receive special perks “in exchange for extra patrol or an arrest,” said Deputy Chief Travis Glampe in an email.

How things have changed.

A recent vandalism incident was captured on video by a surveillance camera at the Federation building. The union posted a still shot of the suspect on social media. So did the department that’s now being led by Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, who replaced Harteau this summer.

“Can you ID this woman?” read the department’s Facebook post, which was shared by more than 750 people. “This suspect has been involved in several graffiti and damage incidents in N.E. Minneapolis.”

The department’s online reach delivered dividends within 24 hours.

According to Kroll, investigators have identified a suspect. They’ve been able match the woman in the video footage with a person through social media accounts.   

Kroll declined to give the suspect’s name. He would say she’s suspected in numerous vandalism crimes that have hit both city and county property. Kroll says investigators are tabulating the dollar amount for all the incidents so that it reaches a felony level before making an arrest.