MINNEAPOLIS, MN–This Thursday, December 3rd, at 6PM, protesters will converge upon the offices of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis–the union representing Minneapolis police officers–demanding the resignation of Robert Kroll, the union’s president. These calls come after a heightened awareness of Kroll’s past white supremacist activity, statements, and his role in representing the police department to the media after the shooting of Jamar Clark. The march is called by two organizations connected to the Industrial Workers of the World union, its General Defense Committee and African People’s Caucus, and has been endorsed by numerous groups focusing on issues of policing and civil rights. It will begin at 6PM, at Bottineau Park at 2nd Ave and 19th St NE in Minneapolis and march to the nearby Federation offices.
This past November, members of the General Defense Committee of the IWW, a body tasked with supporting workers’ issues in and beyond the workplace, published a lengthy report on Kroll documenting that he “has a long and documented history of explicit racism on the job, including violence against civilians of color, wearing a “White Power” badge, and protecting officers who kick the teeth out of unarmed civilians. He also belongs to the law enforcement dominated City Heat motorcycle club, which has been shown to be harboring organized racists.” The report cites the multitude of lawsuits and news articles outlining this behavior and demands that journalists not consider Kroll a reliable source on racism in policing or police brutality. (That report can be found here)
While acts of terror by white supremacists are not new in the United States, more have become aware of the growing threat of the far right since the murder of 9 people in a Black church in South Carolina by white supremacist Dylan Roof. In Minneapolis, this threat was made real last Monday when a group of white supremacists shot and wounded five at the protest in front of the Fourth Precinct. “As dangerous as the people taking shots at the Fourth Precinct are, even more threatening is the fact that Minneapolis Police overwhelmingly voted someone with the exact same despicable beliefs and behavior to represent them to the city and to the media,”said Dee Xaba, a member of the GDC and the IWW African Peoples Caucus, “the idea that Kroll or any of his supporters on the police force could be seen as unbiased is ridiculous.”
“Last Monday’s shootings show us that we cannot afford to take the threat of white supremacists lightly,” said Jessica Garraway, another member of the GDC and the African Peoples Caucus, “the activity of known white supremacists inside and outside of the police force is why we are marching on the Third. Getting rid of Bob Kroll is not going to solve the problem of rampant white supremacy in the police force… but it’s a start.”
The rally’s details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/450254455164253/