Protesters condemned after they destroy piñata of WCCO's Liz Collin

Protesters were demonstrating outside the home of Collin and her husband, Minneapolis police union chief Bob Kroll.
The Liz Collin piñata can be seen in the background of Nekima Levy-Armstrong's live video.

The Liz Collin piñata can be seen in the background of Nekima Levy-Armstrong's live video.

Protesters who held a demonstration outside the home of Minneapolis police union chief Bob Kroll and his wife, WCCO reporter Liz Collin, have been condemned by some Twin Cities media members and state lawmakers after video showed them destroying a piñata of Collin's likeness.

The video from Saturday's protest came to wider attention of the Twin Cities media when it was shared by former Minnesota GOP Deputy Chair Michael Brodkorb on Monday, showing piñatas of both Collin and Kroll being destroyed outside their Hugo home.

Kroll has been the subject of numerous protests since the death of George Floyd, with activists seeing his tenure as the head of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis as a barrier to addressing systemic problems within Minneapolis Police Department.

But Collin has also been the subject of protest outside WCCO's office in downtown Minneapolis, with activists criticizing the station for both her marriage to Kroll and her involvement in stories concerning the police, claiming it's a conflict of interests.

The writing on the back of the piñata was of a quote Collin herself gave in 2019, in which she noted she had not been involved in stories involving Minneapolis police or the union for the previous two years.

"Is it a conflict of interest for me to be a journalist married to the Minneapolis police union boss?" she said. "My answer: No."

BMTN reached out to WCCO on Monday for comment and has yet to hear anything back, but WCCO anchor Jason DeRusha did criticize the action on his Twitter page.

"Protest. Complain. Advocate. Speak out. Picket my station again! But making a piñata out of a journalist and beating it is disgusting, offensive and sad. This is where we are? That all of these intelligent people thought this was ok?" he said.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Numerous other Twin Cities media personalities have condemned the targeting of Collin, with FOX 9's Karen Scullin tweeting: "There is a limit. There is a line. This s not okay." 

WCCO-AM's Cory Hepola said: "People are (rightfully) upset. People (rightfully) want major reform at MPLS Police. People are (rightfully) tired & fed up. But, symbolically beating up a woman journalist isn’t a solution. It’s a disgusting act that’s only going to alienate anyone willing to listen or help."

DFL Sen. Karla Bingham joined the criticism, saying: "No member of the media should be physically threatened or intimidated. Period. End of story. Doesn’t matter the reason. Not appropriate."

The protest was organized by the Racial Justice Network, and not Black Lives Matter as has been widely reported by Twin Cities media. The Racial Justice Network is a grassroots organization which is led by Twin Cities activist Nekima Levy-Armstrong.

In response to the criticism over the Collin piñata, she had this to say on Twitter:

Other activists argued that the criticism for Collin isn't due to her job as a journalist, but due to her marriage to Kroll.

"I'm arguing Collins is a part and tacit public supporter of the politics of Kroll by choice, she doesn't receive special dispensation from a particular public disdain because she is a journalist," wrote filmmaker D.A. Bullock in response to DeRusha. "She certainly doesn't earn some requirement of the public to ignore who she married."

Also being criticized for his involvement on Saturday is John Thompson, a DFLer who is standing in House District 67A in St. Paul.

He was among those wearing a shirt saying "Bob KKKroll Must Go!" and among other things, said the following into a megaphone: "You think we give a [expletive] about burning Hugo down?”and also "[Expletive] Hugo."

On Monday, the Washington County Sheriff's Office said that despite Thompson's "divisive, hurtful and inflammatory rhetoric," there is no action it can take.

"After investigation, the comments made by Mr. Thompson, though grossly inappropriate, do not violate any felony statute," a spokesman said. 

"We will continue further review of any other violations of state law or city ordinance, while allowing for First Amendment protected speech."

Next Up

covid, vaccine

Minnesotans eligible for COVID shots only need to pre-register once for vaccine lottery

This is good news for people worried that they'd need to sign up every week.

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.

Alexus Norberg

Search for girl, 14, missing from St. Cloud

The teen left her home without her parents' permission.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 26

The health departments provided new data daily at 11 a.m.


What health officials know, don't know about Brazil P.1 variant

Minnesota health officials confirmed the first case of the P.1 variant in the U.S.

christopher and banks

Christopher & Banks closing stores for good, laying off 361 people at Plymouth facility

The layoffs began earlier this month and will continue through March.

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 8.56.43 AM

Tributes, donations after death of popular South High School teacher

The fundraiser had raised more than $9,000 of its $15,000 as of Tuesday.


Bob Kroll

Protesters show up at Bob Kroll's home demanding his resignation

Kroll's leadership of the Minneapolis police union has been under scrutiny.

Bob Kroll

Bob Kroll to retire as Minneapolis police union chief

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


Protest held at WCCO over anchor's marriage to Bob Kroll

The protest is calling for the Twin Cities TV station to take action.

Bob Kroll

Bob Kroll reverses plans to retire, slams Minneapolis police chief

The controversial Minneapolis police union head gave his latest comments in a radio interview.

Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 10.21.56 PM

Chaotic scenes in Minneapolis as George Floyd protest clashes with police

The protest has moved to a police precinct in south Minneapolis.

bob kroll

Calls for Bob Kroll to go after he sends letter about George Floyd unrest

Bob Kroll commended officers and bashed leadership in a letter to officers.

Bob Kroll

What did Bob Kroll say during his Twin Cities media PR blitz?

The controversial union leader held several interviews on Monday and Tuesday.

Bob Kroll

Bob Kroll answers questions about George Floyd incident for 1st time

Kroll condemned "incompetent leadership" and demanded more video of the incident.