MINNEAPOLIS — Hundreds of demonstrators crowded around a chain-link fence at the Minneapolis Police Federation headquarters and marched briefly through University Avenue on Friday, calling again for the resignation of union head Bob Kroll.
For at least the second time since the killing of George Floyd, protesters made a point to hold an event near the federation’s office in Northeast Minneapolis. They continue to blame Kroll and his union leadership for rules they believe shield officers from discipline and accountability – something Mayor Jacob Frey has echoed. Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has also criticized the union, announcing this week that he’s stepping away from ongoing contract negotiations with the union.
“We are hurting. We need real change,” Andre Friedman said before the protest began, “and as long as Bob Kroll is in that office – we’re not gonna see that change. It’s an ideological problem.”
Led by local activists, including prominent civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong and Jaylani Hussein of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, demonstrators made repeated calls for Kroll to resign and sharply criticized local officials for their response to the killing of George Floyd. The union, however, remained the focus as protesters gathered outside the headquarters for two hours and marched for another half-hour.
Kroll did not respond to requests for comment on Friday, but his federation released a statement this week that refuted the criticism. Referring to Floyd’s death as “senseless,” the federation said it’s open to a new contract that would improve accountability and questioned the chief’s decision to step away from negotiations. If the entire city leadership were to stop discussing the contract, the federation said, it could violate state law. The union demanded the chief and mayor return to the negotiating table and “stop repeating the false narrative that the Federation or the labor agreement is an impediment to change.”
Demonstrators did not accept that answer on Friday.
“Now you want to talk? It’s not time for talking,” Andre Friedman said. “It’s time for acting and for real change – and that’s you resigning from your position, Bob Kroll.”
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