Last month we published my criticism of racism in the Minneapolis Police Department, “Still out of control.”
Bob left this message on our voice mail:
“This message is for Ed Felien. Ed, Bob Kroll, Minneapolis Police Federation.
“I just read your most recent hatchet job on, uh, me and the department. Uh, if you’re a responsible journalist, why don’t you read some of the Blevins case online rather than talking about public hearings, and talk about how these people lie and how they are proven wrong through the investigation. It’s all available online. So, if you want to call yourself a responsible journalist, report the facts.
“And then, going back to my motorcycle club that flies confederate flags and Nazi medals. You’re out of your mind—and a racial discrimination suit that I was the most prominent subject in it in 2009. I would have probably had to give a deposition if I was that prominent and I never was given a deposition.
“You want to talk about facts? Or you just wanna keep on reporting the same garbage you’ve been reporting your whole life.
“I’d love to meet with you and discuss our differences anytime, anywhere. I don’t know you, but you seem to know a lot about me. I’ve about had it with your bullshit garbage reporting.
“I’m available, 612-788-8444 if you’ve got the guts, but I doubt it.”
I wrote him:
Thank you for your comments on my article in Southside Pride, “Still out of control,” where I said, “Lt. Bob Kroll is head of the Minneapolis Police Federation—the union of police officers. He’s also the head of City Heat, a motorcycle club of Twin City police officers linked to City Heat in Chicago. They fly Confederate flags and wear Nazi medals. His racist values and actions were the most prominent subject in the 2009 racial discrimination lawsuit that five Minneapolis police officers (including Arradondo) brought against the City.”
As I’m sure you’ll remember, that information is taken from an interview you gave with Ruben Rosario of the Pioneer Press that in a subsequent interview with Rosario you said you couldn’t “unGoogle it.”
“The Minneapolis suit has been filed in United States District Court and alleges that members of the City Heat have ‘systematically and continuously discriminated… against persons of color;’ that the City Heat is an overtly racist club; that the city and police department of Minneapolis have tolerated membership in the club; and that all of that has created a racist and hostile work place environment for black and Hispanic cops.”
I believe you have challenged me to a duel by saying, “I’d love to meet with you and discuss our differences anytime, anywhere.” I believe it is customary in a duel that the person challenged gets to pick the place and choice of weapons. Let’s return to the scene of the crime, this newspaper, and let’s use words and ideas as weapons to confront each other.
Tell me, Bob, why shouldn’t we be concerned? In 2006 the FBI warned of white supremacists taking over police departments. http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/402521/doc-26-white-supremacist-infiltration.pdf.
The role of the police as the principal agent of oppression during Nazi Germany is well documented. An international conference in May of this year, the “INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: THE POLICE AND THE HOLOCAUST: THE ROLE OF POLICE FORCES IN THE GENOCIDE OF JEWS AND ROMA,” May 30-31, 2018, in Guatemala City, Guatemala:
“This conference brings together scholars to address the role of the police in the Holocaust, particularly in the organized murder of Jews and Roma. The Nazi state and their allies involved police at every stage of the genocidal process, from the arrest and looting of the victims to their deportation and killing. During Nazi occupation, non-German police units—some already in existence, some newly created—performed a range of key functions in pursuit of German goals, but also based on their own interests.”
Bob, why shouldn’t we believe that the MPD is involved in a slow-moving genocide against young black men, as evidenced by the murders of Thurman Blevins, Jamar Clark and Terrance Franklin?
Bob wrote back:
“Ed, As my last voice message said, I would be happy to discuss all of the below with you. I would come to your office, or anywhere else you would like. I simply don’t have the time to respond in print to such nonsense, particularly to a newspaper that has such low readership. Now are you interested in the truth? Or just sensationalism?”
I wrote back:
Thanks for writing. But when you say, “I simply don’t have the time to respond in print to such nonsense”—you just did respond in writing. And as for, “a newspaper that has such low readership”—Southside Pride will be delivering your response to more than one-third of the city in our October editions. Yes, I’m interested in the “truth,” so, tell me, why shouldn’t the people of Minneapolis be concerned that white supremacists have taken over the Minneapolis Police Department? Why haven’t the officers who killed Terrance Franklin, Jamar Clark and Thurman Blevins been disciplined for misconduct? Why haven’t you been disciplined for improper use of city property in your political ad for Tim Pawlenty?
Bob wrote back:
“I say again—are you interested in the truth or just sensationalism? That is a factual quote. It must be included. You don’t have any interest in interviewing me for actual facts. You just thrive on phrases made out of context.”