Lt. Bob Kroll, the outspoken head of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, plans to retire this month, citing family reasons, reports the Wall Street Journal. Kroll, who has served on the city’s police force for 32 years, moved up plans to retire in May. “After reviewing the bigger picture, it is in my family’s best interest for me to retire four months early,” said Kroll, who was elected union president in 2015. He came to national attention after initially defending the four officers involved in the killing of George Floyd. He later said that the firing of then-officer Derek Chauvin, who planted his knee on Floyd’s neck for an extended period, was justified.
“Good riddance,” tweeted Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who clashed with Kroll numerous times in recent years. Kroll was an outspoken critic of the city’s handling of the unrest after Floyd’s death, calling it “despicable” that the mayor and governor had shifted blame for the ensuing violence to police officers. He was especially upset by the city’s decision to allow rioters to burn the Third Precinct, blaming the destruction on a political decision to let rioters win. “It just empowered them, and they went on the rest of the night to destroy all of the south side of Minneapolis,” he said. Kroll said in the letter announcing his retirement that he had improved the finances of the union and that,”We have contract language second to none.” Chauvin and the three other officers face a trial scheduled to begin March 8. Kroll was a controversial figure before Floyd’s killing. In 2019, Kroll had disagreements with Mayor Frey over staffing and whether to allow officers to wear uniforms at political rallies. That earned Kroll an invitation from the White House to appear at an October rally alongside President Donald Trump.