Police union president Bob Kroll blasts Walz, defends officers tied to George Floyd killing

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo tried to mollify the City Council, whose constituents say they are fed up with gunfire. Photo by Tony Webster/Minnesota Reformer.

Controversial Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll broke his week-long silence on the death of George Floyd at the hands of officers he represents, pledging to fight for their jobs and rebuking the leadership of Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. 

He also wrote in a letter to the roughly 800 members of the union that he had a back-channel relationship with Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, which he used to urge the state government’s top ranking Republican to take control of the National Guard as it tried to bring order the Twin Cities during the recent riots. 

“The Senate was going to try and run the actions that the governor displayed he is currently incompetent to do,” Kroll wrote. 

Gazelka flatly denied Kroll’s assertion in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio.

“The governor is the commander-in-chief, and is responsible ultimately for the direction of the Guard. Never did I think I was going to usurp that,” he said.

In the letter to his members, Kroll unapologetically stood by the officers and blamed the ensuing events on elected officials. 

“What has been very evident throughout this process is you have lacked support from the top,” Kroll wrote. “This terrorist movement that is currently occurring was a long time build up that dates back years.” 

He claimed that if officers at the now-destroyed Third Precinct had been authorized to use “gas munitions and less lethal mutations,” Minneapolis would not have seen the ensuing looting and damage. 

“Given the right numbers, the right equipment, and your ability to use them would have ended this Tuesday night.”

Asked about Kroll’s National Guard assertion, Walz on Monday said he had not seen the Kroll letter but pushed back against the idea that Gazelka could command the Minnesota National Guard. 

“That’s not how this works,” Walz said. “That’s not how any of this works. And at this point in time, I don’t comment any further.”

Walz served 24 years in the National Guard and is the highest ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in the U.S. Congress. 

Kroll’s letter was immediately blasted by former Minneapolis police chief, Janeé Harteau, who first shared the copy of the letter on Twitter.

“A disgrace to the badge!” she said. “This is a battle that myself and others have been fighting against. Bob Kroll turn in your badge!”

Frey on Twitter also hit back, writing: “For a man who complains so frequently about a lack of community trust and support for the police department, Bob Kroll remains shockingly indifferent to his role in undermining that trust and support.”