MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The head of the Minneapolis Police Department union spoke out about the demonstrations happening this week at the 4th precinct in North Minneapolis and the ongoing investigations into the incident.
Lt. Bob Kroll, with the MPD Federation, talked with Chad Hartman on WCCO Radio on Thursday afternoon. He addressed the protests by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, which have been ongoing since shortly after Clark’s death early Sunday morning.
“What’s going on right now has nothing to do with the investigation, it has to do with an activism movement,” he said. “Where is the frustration with the 40-plus murders that have occurred in Minneapolis this year? Why don’t we have outcry there?”
Sunday morning’s shooting death of Jamar Clark brought two Minneapolis police officers into the limelight. On Wednesday, Kroll stated that Clark was trying to grab one officer’s gun and that’s when the other shot him.
Kroll disputed the assertions of witnesses who said that Clark, who was unarmed, was handcuffed when he was shot.
“I know that if he had complied with the officers verbal request and leave the scene, come over and be detained and identified, it wouldn’t have resulted in a shooting,” Kroll said. “I don’t think that all 19 arrests by Mr. Clark were by accident or coincidence. At age 24, 19 arrests and a criminal suspect in four others just in the city of Minneapolis isn’t by accident. It’s criminal behavior by a violent person.”
Both Officer Dustin Schwarze and Officer Mark Ringgenberg, who were identified on Wednesday by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, worked in other departments for seven years prior to their hire by Minneapolis.
When asked if Kroll felt obligated to support the officers as the union president, he had this to say: “if we had doubts you wouldn’t see me coming out.” He also added: “What we need is calm. We need a thorough investigation. We need everyone on both sides to remain calm. Let the facts be done and let the facts be presented.”
Kroll also criticized what he characterized as weak leadership at City Hall, saying Mayor Betsy Hodges isn’t letting police crack down on the protesters because they voted her into office.