MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hundreds of protesters gathered Friday in front of the boarded-up union offices for a rally and subsequent march.

“We are sick and tired of the police federation getting in the way of the chief of police doing what he needs to do to hold police accountable,” said Marques Armstrong of Racial Justice Network, one of the organizers of the protest.

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Black Lives Matter, CAIR and Communities United Against Police Brutality also helped organize.

Chants and speeches blasted the disciplinary record of Lt. Bob Kroll, the president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis. Kroll has been the subject of multiple excessive force complaints and lawsuits.

One of the speakers was Kimberly Handy Jones. She crusades for justice for families affected by police violence. St. Paul police shot and killed her son Cordale in 2017. The officers weren’t charged.

“It’s been a racial pandemic way before coronavirus,” Handy Jones said. “The police are the coronavirus.”

Handy Jones says Kroll stands behind bad officers.

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We reached out to Kroll about the protest, and he referred us to a Federation statement from Wednesday that says the union welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the city and improve officer accountability.

The statement also says management has failed to implement changes the union’s tried to make.

“The police federation needs to be reigned in…to create a police force that not only respects themselves but also respects the community,” Armstrong said.

Some protestors believe political leaders like Mayor Jacob Frey and the city council are just as accountable as Kroll and the union.

“We are coming for those seats because our votes matter,” Armstrong said. “My vote is like ten bars of gold and I’m not giving my ten bars of gold to just anybody.”

Petitions were also being passed around calling for a recall of Mike Freeman, the Hennepin County Attorney.

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Freeman is no longer in charge of the prosecution of former MPD officer Derek Chauvin.

David Schuman