Under-fire Minneapolis police union chief Bob Kroll criticized current city police chief Medaria Arradondo in a radio interview Wednesday, and also said he intends to reverse his plans to retire from his role.
The controversial head of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis has faced multiple calls to resign in the wake of George Floyd's death, has a history of divisive comments, and is seen by city leaders as a barrier to substantial change within the department.
But in an interview with The Mix Radio Network, a Rockford, Minnesota-based online station that is dedicated to first responders, he sought to put the focus of criticism towards the MPD on Arradondo.
Since Floyd's May 25 death and the subsequent unrest, there have been dozens of officers who have left the department or retired, with as many as 100 expected to follow by the end of the year, and Kroll slammed Arradondo for not doing more to challenge the mayor and city council for replacements, saying it was his responsibility to call out "failed leadership."
"The chief has said we’re going to be on the wrong side of history, and he’s going to be on the right side of history. Hey, you’re the guy that a year ago asked the mayor for 400 more cops over a five-year period, and instead you’re getting a 200-officer reduction," he said.
"And your officers are in harm’s way more than ever, and you’re going to take that? No, sir, you’re the one that needs to leave and you will be on the wrong side of history."
In a further interview with KSTP, he said Arradondo should resign if he can't challenge a reduction in funding to the police.
As Kroll acknowledges, Arradondo has regularly requested a large increase in sworn officers in the city, though has found his requests coming up against opposition in the council, which is now pursuing a proposal to dismantle the department and create an alternative public safety program that addresses the root causes of crime, with a significantly reduced police presence.
The criticism for Arradondo comes despite a recent poll of Minneapolis residents finding that he has a significantly higher approval rating than the department itself, Mayor Jacob Frey, and the Minneapolis City Council.
The Star Tribune/KARE 11/MPR poll found that two out of three Minneapolis voters view the police unfavorably following Floyd's death during an arrest, but 63% had a favorable view of Arradondo.
An earlier poll found that a majority of Minneapolitans favor replacing the police department, and diverting funds to social programs.
As Kroll's Wednesday comments became known, it prompted a reaction from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who tweeted: "Bob Kroll’s brazen attack on Chief Arradondo is just the latest evidence of his consistent effort to block change and undermine progress.
"I stand with Chief Arradondo. I stand with him in seeing through the deep structural change we need."
Kroll says he'll delay retirement
Kroll also said he intends to shelve his long-planned retirement in spring 2021, suggesting he'll delay it due to the criticism he and the police department is getting.
"Now these people are causing me to stay, because I can’t make it look like they’re chasing me out. I’ve never backed away from a fight in my life," he said.
"The same people who want me gone so bad, from the protesters to the mayor to the City Council to the governor, now they’re getting me stuck here longer, so the joke’s on you."
In the same interview Kroll, who has previously called Floyd a "violent criminal," and Black Lives Matter a "terrorist movement," called for "civility" after protesters targeted the Hugo home he shares with wife Liz Collin, a WCCO anchor/reporter.
"We’re losing control of civil behavior in society these days because of things like this," he said.