MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Lt. Bob Kroll, the president of the Minneapolis police union, appeared on CBS This Morning on Tuesday, telling host Gayle King that he wants to be part of the police reform process in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
This comes after city leaders have repeatedly accused the union to being a major obstacle to changing the department’s culture and getting rid of problem officers.READ MORE: How Feds Are Working To Crack Down On Crimes Committed With Illegal Firearms
“I think the first thing we need to do is sit down with community leaders and listen,” Kroll told King. He did not push for any specific reform policy.
During the interview segment, Kroll responded to comments from Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo, who told “60 Minutes” over the weekend that the union, and Kroll specifically, is a barrier to reform. Earlier this month, the chief withdrew from contract negotiations with the union.
On “60 Minutes,” Arradondo said that Kroll has three choices: be on the right side of history, the wrong side of history, or left behind.
“We will be on the right side of history,” Kroll told King. He added: “There’s a false narrative out there that we appeal and fight all discipline and win it, and that’s simply not true.”
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WATCH: The head of Minneapolis Police Federation, Lt. Bob Kroll and fellow members of the police union speak to @GayleKing about police reform and why they don't believe there's an issue with systemic racism at the police department. pic.twitter.com/jEaoUBjGzT
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) June 23, 2020
When asked about the actions of ex-officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd’s fatal Memorial Day arrest, Kroll said that the union has yet to see the body camera video of the incident. While he called the cellphone video that showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s next for several minutes “horrific,” he said that the body camera video may provide “more to the story.”
Appearing alongside Kroll on CBS This Morning were three other police union leaders. The four were asked if they believe systemic racism exists in the department. While Kroll said that racial issues need to be addressed in the force, he denied there was systemic racism.
Rich Walker Sr., an elected union official who is Black, said that he also doesn’t believe systemic racism exists in the department, pointing out that the police chief is Black, the state’s attorney general is Black, and he’s Black. “I see progress,” he said.
Walker also blamed the media for drumming up tension between police and the community in the wake of Floyd’s death. “Police officers are not out here just randomly hunting Black people to kill them,” he said. “That’s just terrible.”
At one point in the interview, King asked Kroll about the conditions under which he believed police officers should be fired. Kroll said that the question was too big to give a brief answer.
“We could sit for the rest of the week and play out scenarios where they could and should lose their job,” he said.
In the weeks since Floyd’s death, protesters and several state leaders have called for police reform. While state lawmakers considered a number of reforms during the recent special session, no compromised was reached between the Republican-controlled Senate and the DFL-controlled House.
Meanwhile in Minneapolis, the city council is pushing to go beyond police reform. Earlier this month, a majority of the members announced their intention to defund and dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.MORE NEWS: Eviction Moratorium Update: Without An Extension, What Happens To Renters After July 31?
Note: WCCO-TV anchor/reporter Liz Collin is married to Bob Kroll. To avoid any potential conflict of interest, Liz has not reported on Minneapolis Police and Minneapolis Police Union issues for at least two-and-a-half years.