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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

MNPLS Police Union Head Bob Kroll Should Be Replaced

Category: Society
Posted: 07/11/16 21:21

by Dave Mindeman

Conservatives criticized Gov. Dayton for stating an honest opinion.

"Would this have happened if... the driver and passenger had been white? I don't think so."

His critics even went so far as to partially blame him for the Dallas attack.

But when it comes to rhetoric, I think we have much better representation of exacerbation. And that is Lt. Bob Kroll, the head of the Minneapolis Police Union. Here is a bio:

After joining the department in 1989, he worked his way up the ranks, with stints in vice, SWAT and domestic assault. He joined the federation board in 1996.

Kroll was named in a 2007 racial discrimination lawsuit against the department that was brought by five black officers -- including current deputy chief Medaria Arradondo -- after 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.

The plaintiffs, collectively known as the Mill City 5, said the episode, which resulted in Kroll's suspension, was symptomatic of a culture of racial intolerance and retaliation in the department. Kroll has denied the allegations.

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.


Here's another flash from Kroll's past:

Jack Mahaffey had been crossing the street in front of Dusty's bar on Marshall Street Northeast after 10:00 p.m. on a Friday night during the Art-a-Whirl gallery crawl. Mahaffey was a little tipsy, and his backpack hit a car. Two men dressed in jeans and T-shirts got out and confronted Mahaffey, punched him, threw him on the ground, and hit his head on the sidewalk.

As Mahaffey's friends rushed to help, the two men taunted them: "Bring it on" and "Come and get me, motherfucker," according to the file. Mahaffey's sister Flora was punched, and another friend was kicked in the face.

A passerby who was coming home from a shift as a loss-prevention officer at a nearby Rainbow Foods called 911 to break up the melee. After the other officers arrived, Mahaffey and his friends learned a shocking fact: The two assailants were off-duty MPD officers.

One of them was Kroll
.

Now in a highly visible position, he seems unable to stop himself from rendering his personal viewpoint.

On Black Lives Matter:

"Real black leaders will tell you this is a terrorist organization that puts out false narratives."

Re: Police officers walking out on Lynx event because of Player statements on Warm up jerseys:

"They only have four officers working the event because the Lynx have such a pathetic draw."

On Minneapolis murders:

"If black lives matter, where are they when a black person kills a black person? Where is the outrage?"

What Governor Dayton offered was an opinion that many of us are thinking. It wasn't offered as a statement of fact, merely an idea that probably needs to be explored.

But Bob Kroll doesn't offer much in the way of constructive talk. He offers confrontation and one sided criticism. His position requires more thoughtful leadership than he seems willing to give.

He should be replaced.
comments (3) permalink

Violence Is Not Acceptable - But Justice Is Still Needed

Category: Society
Posted: 07/10/16 18:13

by Dave Mindeman

Unfortunately, the protest last night turned ugly as some of the protesters started throwing dangerous objects at the police. This kind of thing is a step backward for the community. It is born out of frustration and a feeling of powerlessness. But it still cannot be allowed.

The target should not be the police as an entity - it is an attitude out there that needs to be rooted out.

Conservative reaction was predictable. Condemnation of the protesters. But even if the current condemnation is justified, and it is, their silence that surrounded the shootings of black men during the past week is not justified.

The Dallas shootings were particularly frustrating because the Dallas police department has been exemplary. The police chief there has done an incredible job of improving race relations in the city and officer involved shootings has virtually disappeared.

The Dallas officers died in a horrific and unacceptable response to the sins of others. And that was tragic. The only silver lining is that we got a good look at how well a police department can respond and how much a community will rally in support if the trust is there.

It is easy to condemn the violent actions of protesters. Nobody wants that. But we also have to empathize with the frustrations.

We have had a number of police involved shootings over the past year. Yet, few have been charged and nobody has been found guilty of anything.

We have very few police officers who commit these highly visible shootings. Very few. Police departments do not condone it. Police officers are not OK with it. But the blue also protects their own. I understand how they feel. Sometimes they feel very alone in a dangerous job. They need each other. They need to count on one another.

But the bad actors have to be removed. It sullies the reputation of the entire department. A department that does so much good and reacts so well, 99% of the time.

Justice still demands accountability. And that means that an officer that gets out of control....that overreacts....or just hates, needs to be removed and face consequences.

Protesters need to act peacefully and with respect, but they also deserve to be listened to and to have real justice follow.
comments (0) permalink

Philando Castile

Category: Society
Posted: 07/07/16 13:25

by Dave Mindeman

I do not understand why we have to keep going here. Why are black men continually ending up dead when confronted by police?

Philando Castile should be here. He should be going to his job. He should be with his family. He should be going about the routine of his life.

But today he is dead and we need some explanations.

In this particular instance, Castile had a permit for conceal and carry. He or his girlfriend tried to explain that, yet the police officer immediately acted defensively.

Would he have acted in that manner if the person was white? I think we pretty much know the answer. The NRA tells us that conceal and carry can save lives...but apparently it is a mark that can kill a black person.

There seems to be a self perpetuating problem involving encounters between police officers (especially white officers) and black citizens. There is an immediate tension during any encounter, traffic or on the street, that develops at any point of contact.

It is hard to blame members of the black community for their lack of trust in the police departments. There have been far too many of these escalating incidents. You can feel the difference. If a black person reaches for a wallet, the police officer reaches for his gun. If a black person answers a question with a disrespectful tone, the officer tenses up. These things always go differently if the encounter is with a white individual.

Police officers are paid to protect ALL citizens. They are not supposed to be the enemy of some. Black citizens act in a defensive manner when a cop is involved. But how can you blame them? A simple traffic stop can become a life and death decision.

We need better training for police. We need them to involve themselves and get to know people in the African American community. They must EARN their trust. The police needs to radically alter basic procedures. Too many unarmed citizens are ending up dead from a policeman's gun.

This situation needs to be thoroughly investigated and thoroughly examined. And we need to learn. Learn everything. And absorb it. Feel it. Know it.

This type of outcome has to stop. Now.
comments (0) permalink
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