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Harteau criticizes police who walked out of Lynx game

MinnPost file photo by Bill Kelley
Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau

Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau seemed to question the four officers’ professionalism who walked out of Saturday night’s Lynx game in a statement released Tuesday: “Although these officers were working on behalf of the Lynx, when wearing a Minneapolis Police uniform I expect all officers to adhere to our core values and to honor their oath of office. Walking off the job and defaulting on their contractual obligation to provide a service to the Lynx does not conform to the expectations held by the public for the uniform these officers wear.”

MPR’s Bob Collins asks what message the officers were sending: “The Star Tribune reports the four officers, working an off-hours gig, walked off the job at Saturday’s game. … ‘If [the players] are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there,’ police union boss Lt. Bob Kroll told reporter Randy Furst. … ‘We do not, in any way, condone violence against the men and women who serve on our police force,’ superstar Maya Moore said in a statement. ‘Senseless violence and retaliation will not bring us peace’ … Question: When police walk out over such a sentiment, what is their message?”

There are a lot of big questions raised by the Philando Castile case, but this is surely an important one. The Marshall Projects Robin Washington writes: “Fred Friedman, the retired chief public defender for Northeast Minnesota, called it unusual to be stopped so many times with no serious charges. ‘It’s a big deal to get stopped 52 times. You can’t find somebody who’s been stopped 52 times and doesn’t have any felony convictions or drunk driving. That’s highly unusual,’ he said. ‘Why was his license revoked? Was it just this insurance nonsense?’ he continued, noting there’s little chance that officers would know of Castile’s troubles with the Department of Motor Vehicles just by seeing him driving along. ‘Here’s the heart of it: Why did he keep getting stopped?’

President Obama called Philando Castile’s mother: 

Judge Glenda Hatchett will represent Castile’s family in upcoming legal battles. [The Uptake]

Have you had your home tested for radon? MPR’s Mark Zdechlik writes: “The Minnesota Department of Health is promoting a new interactive statewide map of radon levels to encourage residents to test for the carcinogenic gas. … The department said about two in five homes have dangerously high radon levels. Dan Tranter, supervisor of the Health Department's radon program, said he hopes the new map will spur people to test for the gas, which is the No. 2 cause of lung cancer.”

In other news…

Still pretty flooded up north: “Floodwaters causing numerous road closures in the Northland” [Duluth News Tribune]

And Minnesota not too shabby at #4: “Colorado rises high to No. 3 in Top States for Business” [CNBC]

Surely, they’ll iron out their differences: “Both sides steeled for Twin Metals hearings” [Duluth News Tribune]

The big business of youth sports: “Software company Sport Ngin sold to NBC Sports” [Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal]

Kids these days, with their iPods and their “pokey mans”: “What’s this Pokémon stuff all about?” [Pioneer Press]

You think real Vikings would’ve paid pilotage fees? “Draken Harald Hårfagre is in jeopardy of leaving the Tall Ships Challenge 2016 and the Great Lakes” [Draken Expedition]

Congrats, but holy cow is this an ugly fish: “Minnesota's flathead catfish record broken” [West Central Tribune]

Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 07/12/2016 - 02:02 pm.

    Police message

    Indeed, what is the message being sent by those officers who walked out of the Lynx game – not to mention the huffing and puffing from Lt. Kroll – when all the offending garments said was “Change starts with us” followed by “justice and accountability.” If Lt. Kroll feels threatened by those sentiments, he ought to find another line of work that doesn’t involve serving the public, since “justice and accountability,” it seems to me, are at the core of police work anywhere and everywhere.

  2. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 07/12/2016 - 04:24 pm.

    These guys made BLM’s very point

    Cops are saying these are our rules and you play by them, and the corollary is if we shoot you, we skate.

    And as for first amendment rights, we get to approve them. This is clearly a case of the tail wagging the dog. They should be restricted from any moonlighting with the badge on, so they cannot make extra money. The badge is a privilege, not a right.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/12/2016 - 04:51 pm.

      Another Point

      The officers made it very clear that they have no regard for the concerns that were being raised.

  3. Submitted by Bill Willy on 07/12/2016 - 06:37 pm.

    “Don’t do stupid stuff”

    Janee Harteau’s response was the right(er) one. Bob Kroll’s is one that a steadily increasing number of people find offensive, backward-looking, obsolete and, most importantly, dangerous: He isn’t doing anyone in the community or the people in “his” union any favors; and the members of that union ought to think long and hard before voting to re-elect him to represent them.

    Strongly recommend Chief Harteau, Lt. Kroll and ALL Minnesota peace officers take the time to watch and/or listen to today’s Dallas memorial service (in its entirety).

    I was surprised at how “good” it was. (I was even impressed by what George Bush had to say.)

    Among other things, it was pointed out that when politicians, police departments, police officers and everyday citizens adopt and express the point of view Bob Kroll and those who walked off their (Lynx) job expressed they’re actually making THEIR situation worse and their already tough job tougher.

    And by the way — one of the other ironic things to come out of all this seems to be the clarity the shootings in Dallas have brought to what a great example of “policing transformation” Dallas actually is . . . Any city or law enforcement agency could do worse than to take a close look at what they’ve been doing recently. It’s not working perfectly (because what is?) but judging from what a lot of the people of Dallas have had to say the past few days, it’s working way better — for everyone, including the police — than most approaches being taken.

    The Atlantic lays out a pretty good overview of what a (deadly) mess it was just a few years ago and how much it has changed:

    “Dallas was once notorious for police violence. For years, the third largest city in Texas had a higher per-capita rate of police-involved shootings than Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles . . .

    “In 2014, Dallas had its lowest murder rate since 1930. Overall crime decreased by 4.5 percent last year while violent crime dropped at a similar clip. There have been ups and downs, including a dramatic uptick in murders this year, but the trend line appears to hold true: Dallas is a less violent city than it was five years ago . . .

    “Excessive force complaints against the department dropped by 64 percent over a five-year period. Arrests are decreasing by the thousands each year . . .

    ” ‘So far this year, in 2016, we have had four excessive force complaints. We’ve averaged between 150 and 200 my whole 33-year career. So this is transformative,’ Police Chief David Brown told a crowd of his fellow officers and policymakers at the White House in April. ‘And we’ve averaged between 18 and 25 police involved shootings my whole career. We’ve had two so far this year.’ ”

  4. Submitted by Dan Berg on 07/12/2016 - 10:04 pm.

    My guess..

    While we can’t really know what was in the heads of the officers my guess is that the part of the message they found troubling was that the names of Castile and Sterling were being presented as martyrs, and therefore the police involved as criminals, before the facts could be assessed. If in large part the complaint, justifiably, is that minorities are often treated like criminals without sufficient evidence it is ironic that so much of the protesting seems to do the same regarding police officers. To me the most damning evidence on the systemic treatment of minorities is the number of times Castile had been pulled over. Put that number on a t-shirt and it would draw attention to the larger problem without prejudging any single officer. I think we would all do well to carefully observe the legal process on the case and render options on it as evidence is revealed. If the system judges the officers improperly then lets all protest the injustice of that individual case. My guess is that in general the more common injustice is minorities being judged guilty without proper evidence than it is of police officers being judge not-guilty despite evidence.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/13/2016 - 02:29 pm.

      Kroll, Clark, And Waiting For Facts

      It is important to remember that Bob Kroll did not wait for the facts to come out in the shooting of Jamar Clark. Kroll spoke tot he media about a narrative that he got second hand, from the attorney of one of the involved officers. Kroll had no problem running with the word of a biased source when it suited him.

      • Submitted by Dan Berg on 07/13/2016 - 05:29 pm.


        I don’t think Kroll was working the Lynx game. I also don’t think that it does either side well to make baseless assumptions and use them to try and prove a larger point. Unfortunately it seems to be the most common way of communicating for both sides.

  5. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 07/12/2016 - 10:42 pm.

    Another question raised…

    Good to know Fred Friedman is neither retired or retiring…he who has always recognized the question,as an active verb…a tragic death with many questions to be answered, yes .indeed?

  6. Submitted by BJ Lutz on 07/13/2016 - 09:57 pm.

    Watch the Lynx press conference; nothing offensive there

    The four Lynx captains, three of whom will be representing the USA in the Olympics, held a press conference before Saturday’s game and so offended four police officers working the game that they walked off the job. My, my! Will they only protect and serve people they agree with? I watched the entire press conference and was deeply moved by the words of Maya Moore and Rebekkah Brunson. They pleaded for an end to racial profiling; to have us all move to a place where we see each other as human beings, treating each other with compassion and justice. They asserted that racial profiling and racism still exists in this country. The only people who would find that offensive would be people like Bob Kroll and others who either live in an alternate universe or have their heads permanently buried in the sand. Yes, racism is alive and well in this country. It is in everyone’s best interest, for the health and welfare of our society, to see all people, regardless of color or socio-economic status, as being equal and worthy of being treated with respect and dignity. This is not an issue of being for or against the police or Black Lives Matter. It’s not about being a liberal or a conservative, or a Democrat or Republican, or being a NRA fanatic or someone who believes in gun control. I can support the police AND support Black Lives Matter. I can be a member of the NRA and support a ban on assault weapons. Stop making life an issue of “Because you don’t agree with me, I’m taking my ball and going home and I won’t ever play with you again.” How childish. What was so offensive about those warmup shirts, anyway? Was it the Dallas Police logo, honoring those officers murdered and wounded in Dallas? No, no, maybe it was the words on the front: “Change Starts With Us” “Justice and Accountability”. Maybe those police officers aren’t for justice and accountability. Or was it the names of the two men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, the two black men who were shot to death by white police with extremely questionable use of deadly force? No, no, I’m sure it was the words “Black Lives Matter” that presumably so offended the police officers. Black Lives do Matter. All lives matter. Bob Kroll’s added comment about the Lynx having a “pathetic draw” just shows his disdain for strong, athletic, intelligent, gifted black women. Hey Bob, why don’t you attend a game see a large crowd full of enthusiasm for their home (and winning) team? Stop by and talk to the players; I’m sure they’d be happy to meet with you; you could exchange opinions in a civilized manner. Or are they too uppity for you?

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