MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – A coalition of civil rights and racial justice groups held a rally at Minneapolis City Hall on Friday afternoon calling for the firing of Bob Kroll as the president of the police union. The groups delivered more than 250,000 petition signatures to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and the City Council to denounce Kroll and push for his removal.
Marches and rallies calling for Kroll to resign or be removed from his role atop the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis have been constant since the death of George Floyd in police custody. The groups behind these protests say Kroll needs to go for the city to see real change within the police department.
As union president, Kroll is elected by his fellow officers and can’t be removed from the position by city leaders.
Kroll has become a lightning rod for activists looking to reform the police department, as many have blamed the union for stagnating department changes. Kroll faced further calls for him to resign after writing a letter in which he referred to the protests in Minneapolis as “a terrorist movement.” In response to that letter, former Minneapolis police chief Janeé Harteau called on Kroll to turn in his badge.
More than 100 people gathered for a protest outside Bob Kroll’s house in Hugo, Minnesota last Saturday where he lives with his wife, WCCO-TV reporter Liz Collin. Demonstrators called for Kroll to resign for defending “killer cops” and for Collin to be fired for a conflict of interest as a local journalist.
John Thompson, a community activist and friend of Philando Castile, who won the August DFL primary for a Minnesota House seat, was at the Hugo rally and has apologized for language he used while speaking through a microphone.
“I’m a black man being terrorized by this fucking Klansman right here,” Thompson said, referring to Kroll, who the protest group has dubbed KKKroll.
“Blue lives ain’t shit,” Thompson told the crowd, as neighbors and children looked on. “And if people here don’t support black people, fuck Hugo, Minnesota.”
Thompson posted an apology on Facebook last Sunday, but turned down a FOX 9 request for an interview.
“I became an activist and ran for the legislature to make a difference, to work diligently to fix our broken criminal justice system, dismantle institutional racism, and honor my friend, Philando Castile and become a symbolism of help within our community,” Thompson wrote. “I want to make a positive difference, and my comments on Saturday were not helpful. Inflammatory rhetoric is not how I want to address the important issues we’re facing, and I apologize. I’m not apologizing for my passion to fight injustice.”