In a Monday interview with CNN, union officials said critics of the Minneapolis police department unfairly insulted them, and criticized local elected officials who called for a major reform of the department, even when union officials offered few specific police reforms. . they would be willing to support.
“We have become scapegoats in this,” said Bob Kroll, president of the police union, adding that “the people who are blamed fall directly on the shoulders of our political leadership.”
Prosecutors charged Chauvin with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The other three officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree killings, and aiding and abetting second-degree killings.
When asked by CNN what went through his mind while watching the video of Floyd’s death, police union representative Rich Walker said he was “appalled.”
“I don’t know what was going through Officer Chauvin’s mind, but I can say I don’t agree with how it ended,” Walker said. “And to this day I still believe that Mr. Floyd should still be here.”
Kroll echoed those comments; however, he failed to state what he believes should happen to Chauvin, instead of insisting that he did not want to pass judgment on the former officer.
“There was a firefighter at the scene that said, you know, ‘look at it, look at it.’ The light should have gone out (sic) to do that, but we are not going to pass judgment,” Kroll said. “The justice system is going to prevail.”
Leading the city leadership
In trying to defend Minneapolis police officers from what they consider to be unfair criticism, union leaders targeted the city mayor and city council members who recently called for the restructuring of the police department.
Union officials also criticized Minneapolis police department leaders for their decision to allow protesters to set fire to the third building on the city’s police compound without a show of force by officers to protect the building.
Sgt. Anna Hedberg, the union’s director, said officers were struggling to get their belongings out of the third compound before it fell. “That’s just … that was one of the hardest things to see in my career,” said Hedberg.
“See 54 policemen who shouldn’t have been there being chased down the street because the failed politicians allowed them to be there, knowing full well that they weren’t going to send the resources,” he said.
While union police leaders had no shortage of complaints against politicians who have openly voiced their demand for police reforms in the wake of Floyd’s death, union leaders were unwilling to outline specific proposals they would be ready to support today.
When asked repeatedly by CNN what laws they would support, Minneapolis police union officials said they had not yet had time to read the multiple bills submitted to state legislatures, and warned to rush through police reform measures. It could have unintended consequences.
“We need time,” said Kroll, adding, “Everyone should breathe.”
A controversial president
Even before the police meeting that resulted in the death of George Floyd, union president Bob Kroll found himself in the national spotlight for controversial public statements and for actively participating in partisan campaigns for President Donald Trump.
When asked by CNN if he endorsed those comments, Kroll doubled over and said he equates parts of the Black Lives Matter movement with domestic terrorism.
Kroll also defended his attendance at the stage at a 2019 Trump campaign rally in Minnesota, saying that he and his colleagues were unhappy with a statement at the time by the city’s mayor that Trump was not welcome in the city.
In 2007, Kroll was named in a racial discrimination lawsuit against five African-American officials in Minneapolis, alleging that Kroll referred to then-Federal Representative Keith Ellison as a “terrorist.” Ellison, who is now the Minnesota attorney general, is a black Muslim, and has promised to “hold everyone accountable” in the Floyd case.
The same lawsuit also accused Kroll of wearing a motorcycle jacket with “white power” written on it. Kroll denied the allegations and the lawsuit was settled for $ 740,000.
In 2004 Kroll was named in another lawsuit for excessive use of force against a man who allegedly brushed against his car. Kroll and another officer, both off duty, allegedly shoved and kicked the man to the ground. Kroll denied having acted wrong.
While union officials continue to defend the credibility of their department after Floyd’s death and the criminal prosecution of four of the city’s police officers, scrutiny of the conflicting department is likely to continue on multiple fronts.
Still, union officials say that none of the recent events, nor the litany of department investigations, should result in a general brush with city police officers.
“We need people to stop classifying the police and the police profession as these violent racists and stop demonizing the police for what they do,” said Sherral Schmidt, the union’s vice president, who is again up to politicians, and He added that elected city officials should “Spend more time looking for ways to involve the community and the police so that we can move forward in developing safer communities for the people of Minneapolis.”