Minneapolis City Council committee votes not to provide Bob Kroll defense in lawsuits

On Wednesday, the Policy and Government Oversight Committee voted to deny Kroll indemnification in four lawsuits he is named in.
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Bob Kroll

A Minneapolis City Council Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday not to support former Minneapolis Police Department lieutenant and union leader Bob Kroll in multiple lawsuits.

The Policy and Government Oversight Committee voted to deny Kroll indemnification in four lawsuits he is named in. In doing so, the city will not provide him legal defense, which it is typically required to do for its employees.

The measure still must be approved by the full City Council, but with all 13 members on the committee, it is expected to pass, and would mean Kroll is responsible for his own legal fees.

Kroll stepped down as president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis in January, four months earlier than planned. He faced pressure to resign from the position for comments he made following the murder of George Floyd by former MPD officer Derek Chauvin in May of 2020.

Kroll initially released a statement criticizing Floyd’s "violent criminal history,” and criticized city leaders for not using chemical munitions sooner in response to the protests that followed. He later called the video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck “horrific.”

Four lawsuits related to Floyd’s murder and subsequent civil unrest name Kroll. One of the lawsuits, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, alleges MPD and the Minnesota State Patrol used “excessive force” on protesters exercising their First Amendment rights.

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In March, a federal judge ruled against Kroll’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The lawsuit accuses Kroll of "incendiary" rhetoric that encouraged misconduct by MPD officers during the unrest.

A federal judge also ruled that a lawsuit claiming MPD targeted photojournalist Linda Tirado during protests would be allowed to proceed in February.

Tirado, a Tennessee-based photojournalists, claimed MPD targeted her despite being identified as press. She was blinded in one eye by “less lethal bullets” during the protests. Kroll is accused of promoting such use of force in the lawsuit. 

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