In his first public comments since the killing of George Floyd, Minneapolis Police Officers Federation President Bob Kroll called the incident "horrific" but stood his ground saying the federation needs to see the full video before making an absolute judgement against the four officers charged in connection to Floyd's death.
"We would just like to see what we are entitled to in our agreement, in our policy, is our officer's body camera footage. It may shed some light that we're unaware of. Right now, we cannot make an informed decision regarding the other officers that do not appear on camera," Kroll said Tuesday in an interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning.
"This has been a failed exercise in leadership. We wish we could have an early opinion in this, but it's up to the administration to stick with policy and give us what we're entitled to under policy. It does look and sound horrible, I completely agree with you, Gayle," Kroll added.
In a letter sent to officers of the federation less than a week after Floyd's death, Kroll referred to the "violent criminal history" of Floyd as something that is "not being told," though he didn't elaborate or explain how Floyd's criminal past justified his treatment at the hands of the four officers.
Rich Walker Sr., federation director, backed up that claim during the national TV interview.
There's more to the story, federation believes
"Any human being that watched that knows that that shouldn't have ended the way it did," Walker said. "But we also know that there's more to the story. They say he never resisted in the statements released. We don't know if he never resisted, because we haven't seen from the time the officers stopped him until the point where he was on the ground."
Kroll said the only video he's been allowed to see is the same cellphone footage taken at the scene, which saw bystanders plead with Chauvin to help Floyd as he begged for air, called for his mother and eventually became unresponsive.
"We were not allowed to see the video. The administration broke our policy, which gives us the ability to review the video, so we were blindsided," Kroll stated. "We only saw the social media video. In all other officer-involved critical incidents, we're entitled to review. What I've seen of it is only what the public has seen on the cellphone, and it is horrific."
Joining Kroll during the interview was Sherral Schmidt, vice president and director of the federation, who admitted that she would've rolled Floyd onto his side in a recovery position once he lost consciousness. According to court documents, that's exactly what Thomas Lane asked Derek Chauvin about during the arrest.
"I am worried about excited delirium or whatever," Lane, who was fired and charged with aiding and abetting Floyd's murder, is quoted as saying.
Chauvin has been charged with 2nd-degree murder. Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who helped restrain Floyd, along with Tou Thao, who blocked bystanders from interfering with the arrest, are charged with aiding and abetting murder.
Federation calls out local leaders, blames the media
While Kroll condemned state and local leaders for "incompetent leadership," Walker also blamed the media for fueling a narrative that white cops are hunting black men.
"Absolutely, the media's push is to drum up as much racial issues and stress as there is. I'm not denying the fact that the city needs to grow," said Walker.
"The narrative that is being pushed in the media is that white police officers are out on the streets just to kill black men and that is absolutely farthest from the truth," he said.
"I actually believe in what Black Lives Matter stands for, but it should stand all the time, not just when a police officer – or white police officer or an Asian police officer – has a fatal encounter with an unarmed person.
"We are not defending the actions of Mr. Chauvin. What happened to Mr. Floyd is a tragedy. But we weren't out there. What we're saying is, the narrative needs to stop. Police officers are not out here just randomly hunting black people to kill them, that's just terrible."
Kroll criticized for giving interview to CBS
It's been nearly a month since Floyd's death on May 25, and Kroll is now being criticized for giving his first public interview about the incident to CBS News, which owns the Twin Cities TV network – WCCO-TV – that employs his wife, anchor Liz Collin.
KARE 11's Jana Shortal raised concern about the issue on social media, saying "a worthy question is why he’s giving it to the network that owns the station his wife works for" when other journalists in the Twin Cities have been denied interview requests.
Court documents also revealed that Kroll called the police when a Washington Post reporter knocked on the door to his home inquiring about the incident.
"Kroll stated that a tall black male had rang his doorbell and he didn't answer the door. Kroll stated that the male was driving a silver Toyota and had just left the area," the police report said.