Many African Americans are outrage after the president of the Minneapolis police union, Lt Bob Kroll, described George Floyd a “violent criminal”.
George Floyd died on May 25th after Derek Chauvin, then an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Kroll in a letter sent to members of the Minneapolis police union said “What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd. The media will not air this. I’ve worked with the four defense attorneys that are representing each of our four terminated individuals under criminal investigation, in addition with our labor attorneys to fight for their jobs. They were terminated without due process.”
He also described those protesting over Floyd’s death as terrorists and criticizing the city’s political leadership for not authorizing greater use of force to stop the rioting.
Kroll, also defended the four officers involved in Floyd’s death, including Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes in the lead-up to his death on 25 May.
His letter drew a swift rebuke from a former Minneapolis police chief, Janeé Harteau who called it a disgrace.
Harteau suggested that the letter reflected the attitudes that had blocked her efforts at reform of the police department.
“A disgrace to the badge! This is the battle that myself and others have been fighting against. Bob Kroll turn in your badge!” Harteau, who resigned from the department in 2017 after a police shooting, said in response via a Tweet.
Kroll describing the demonstrators as organised extremists comes following Governor Tim Walz’s characterisation of the protests as led by outside agitators.
“This terrorist movement that is currently occurring was a long time build up which dates back years,” he said.
Kroll, who has appeared at a campaign rally with Donald Trump and praised him as a “wonderful president” for his support of the police, has long had run-ins with politicians seeking to reform policing in Minneapolis.
Over the weekend, Walz claimed that 80% of those arrested during the protests were from out of state and implied they were an organised movement intent on disrupting governance.
Although, arrest records show his claim was false. In fact, 80% were from Minnesota and half of them were from Minneapolis.
While groups of young white people dressed all in black were highly visible in confrontations with the police, alongside young African Americans angered by Floyd’s death, large numbers of the people involved in looting several miles of Lake street in southern Missouri were evidently from the surrounding area.
It was learnt that Floyd had served time in prison for aggravated robbery but Chauvin could not have known that when he detained him.
Video footage which make the round on social media platforms shows that Floyd was not behaving in a violent manner during his arrest, was not armed, and was not suspected of a violent crime.
Chauvin is facing murder and manslaughter charges, and the three other officers have been fired.