Near the beginning of a game by the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), players for the team Lynx wore shirts that denounced racial profiling and provided a moment of silence for black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile who were recently shot and killed by police. Police in uniform acting as security for the event walked out suddenly — immediately denying security to all because their feelings were hurt over a little free speech.
UNION LEADER SUPPORTS WALK OUT
Bob Kroll, the elected leader of the Minneapolis Police Federation, supported the officers strongly. He commended the officers and threatened, “If [the players] are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there,” according to Star Tribune. TotalProSports.com added:
“They can start or stop a job whenever they want,” [Bob Kroll] said. “They are working on an independent contract.” Asked about a report that seven or eight officers had walked off the job, Kroll said, “They only have four officers working the event because the Lynx have such a pathetic draw.”
It was not enough for the union leader Bob Kroll to support the subversion by security to undermine free speech — he had to add a personal insult to the players that was not even true. In fact, Lynx is a record-breaking team. There were over 7000 fans at the event.
The situation is very personal. Bob Kroll finds such protests to be “destructive” — probably because he has been directly targeted by them for his long history of upsetting black people.
KROLL DEFENDS STATEMENT, “I’M HERE FOR THE HANGING”
Union leader Bob Kroll has a history of supporting or condoning actions against black people.
Just a few months ago, hundreds of protestors called for the removal of Bob Kroll for supporting officers who shot black man Jamar Clark in the head. The officers said that Jamar Clark was not handcuffed and reaching for his gun, while witnesses said he was handcuffed when he was “executed.” There is a video of the incident. No charges have been filed against the officers involved.
Last year, when a nearly unanimous city council voted to repeal laws against “spitting and lurking” because such laws “unfairly targeted minorities,” Bob Kroll spoke out to support the Minneapolis version of “broken windows.” This “theory” of crime reduction has been discredited [PDF].
Also last year, when a police officer threatened to break the leg of a teenage black person, captured on video, The officer was fired. Bob Kroll, promising to appeal the decision, said that there was additional video but refused to release it until after the appeal.
In 2009, Bob Kroll was suspended for 19 days after a lawsuit [PDF] which detailed a history of discrimination against black officers. At that time, Bob Kroll was vice president of the Police Officers Federation. Star Tribune described Bob Kroll’s role in the lawsuit:
Kroll reportedly called U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison a terrorist and made disparaging comments about a gay aide to former Mayor R.T. Rybak in front of several other high-ranking commanders.
Also in the complaint, Bob Kroll was cited for allegedly wearing “a motorcycle jacket with a ‘White Power’ badge.” The police department was accused of condoning “a hate letter signed ‘KKK’ through interoffice police departmental mail.” All but one department demotion “involved African Americans.” The one exception was “a white female.”
One unidentified member is wearing a KKK cross emblem with an “I’m here for the hanging” patch right below it. Other members wear “No blacks” patches and an assortment of swastikas, Confederate flags, Iron Crosses and other items that hate-crime watchdog groups say are often displayed by members of neo-Nazi or white-supremacist groups.
[Bob Kroll] described the “I’m here for the hanging” patch, worn by someone he believes might be a Chicago-area cop, as “some type of inside joke with Chicago.”
Bob Kroll completely denied the group was a “racist organization.”
Star Tribune also reported an overall tally of the record of Bob Kroll:
Police personnel records revealed that Kroll had 19 other internal-affairs complaints during his 26 years on the force, all but three of which were closed without discipline. He has been reprimanded once in recent years, and he also was suspended after being accused of using excessive force, records show.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges called Bob Kroll’s comments on the WNBA Lynx shirts “jackass remarks.”
Photo: Bob Kroll interview last year.