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Bob Kroll to retire as Minneapolis police union chief

Kroll has proven a controversial figure during his time in charge of the MPD union.
Bob Kroll

Controversial Minneapolis police union president Lt. Bob Kroll is retiring at the end of January.

That's according to KSTP, which confirmed that Kroll will step down from his position at the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis four months earlier than he'd planned, with Kroll revealing his intentions in a letter to members.

Per KSTP, Kroll announced he'd be retiring "after reviewing the bigger picture," saying stepping down early "is in my family's best interest."

In his letter, he lamented how his profession has been "demonized" and criticized "weak administrations" that "pandered to armchair quarterbacks," albeit without identifying anyone by name.

Kroll was under huge pressure to resign last spring and summer following the death of George Floyd during his arrest by Minneapolis Police Department, with Kroll issuing a statement a week later in which he criticized Floyd's "violent criminal history," criticized local leaders for not giving police enough support, and praised officers responding to the subsequent civil unrest and riots.

Kroll later described the video showing Floyd's death as "horrific."

He also courted controversy in August for wearing his MPD uniform at political events as he supported Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis this past August.

The previous October a new rule had been implemented preventing officers wearing uniforms at political events ahead of a rally by President Donald Trump at Target Center.

Kroll objected to the rule but ultimately sported a "Cops for Trump" shirt as he appeared on stage with Trump, which ended up raising significant sums for the union after the t-shirts were sold at its online store.

He retained significant support among MPD officers as he led the union in defending members at misconduct hearings and fought efforts to fire them, while at the same time calling for increased police funding and greater police autonomy.

He had a well-publicized spat with former MPD Chief Janee Harteau in 2015 following the long-running protest outside the Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct following the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark.

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Kroll suggested in August last year that his planned retirement in spring 2021 could be delayed because of the calls for his resignation, saying "I can't make it look like they're chasing me out. I've never backed away from a fight in my life."

In the same interview, he criticized the efforts of protesters who targeted the Hugo home he shares with his wife, WCCO reporter Liz Collin. A group of protesters demonstrated outside his home, and destroyed effigies of both Kroll and Collin, with the union chief subsequently calling for "civility."

During his time as a police officer, Kroll himself revealed he had been the subject of 54 complaints, none of which resulted in formal discipline that was upheld.

He also said he had been sued 11 times, per the Minnesota Reformer.

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