Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Uniform ban spurs Minneapolis police union to make ‘Cops for Trump’ shirts

Federation President Lt. Bob Kroll
MinnPost file photo by Ibrahim Hirsi
Federation President Lt. Bob Kroll

In the Star Tribune, Mara Klecker writes: “The Minneapolis police union has come out with a ‘Cops for Trump’ T-shirt, just days after the Police Department banned officers from wearing their uniforms in support of candidates at political events or in ads. Lt. Bob Kroll, head of the officers’ union, posted the T-shirt image on his personal Facebook page, saying the shirts will be for sale starting Monday at the union’s headquarters for $20 each and will soon be available online.”

In the Pioneer Press, Kristi Belcamino and Nick Woltman report: “A shooting and rollover crash on St. Paul’s West Side on Sunday left a man in critical condition and a 4-year-old boy with minor injuries, police say. Officers were dispatched about 5:15 p.m. to the 400 block of Wabasha Street, where they found the pair inside an overturned SUV in the parking lot of an apartment complex, said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul Police Department spokesman. The man, who had suffered a gunshot wound to his head, was unconscious but breathing when police arrived, Ernster said. The boy was shot in the foot.”

Up in Duluth, Dan Kraker of MPR reports, “After more than a year away, and two tourist seasons missed, the William A. Irvin is nearly ready to make its return voyage to Duluth. Last September, the city was forced to orchestrate a complicated move of the 610-foot retired iron ore freighter, to allow for the cleanup of polluted sediment and the repair of a seawall at the Minnesota Slip, where the Irvin had been moored as a museum ship for several decades.”

For The Growler, Louis Livingston-Garcia writes, “Out of over 100 categories judged at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival (GABF), Minnesota breweries medaled in four, including two golds. St. Paul’s Barrel Theory Beer Company took a gold medal in the specialty Berliner category for Midwest Exotic, a gose with calamansi, blood orange, tangerine, and peach. … The other gold came in the Bock category courtesy of Hutchinson’s Bobbing Bobber Brewing Company and its Tackle Bock.”

MPR’s Mohamed Ibrahim writes: “A Benedictine monk and scholar at Minnesota’s St. John’s University will deliver a lecture Monday evening in Washington — a prestigious national honor for his work preserving historical religious texts. Father Columba Stewart said he was ‘blown away’ when he received the news in July that he had been selected to deliver the 2019 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. Stewart is executive director of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John’s in Collegeville, Minn.”

In the Star Tribune, Faiza Mahamud reports, “The union representing Minneapolis Public Schools support staff in contract negotiations says a growing number of aides are leaving the state’s third-largest district to work in other metro schools that pay them better. But according to the district, instructional salaries — pay going to school employees such as classroom teachers, special education staff and teacher aides — have gone up drastically in the past six years.”

The AP says, “A 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who garnered international attention when she scolded world leaders at the United Nations is visiting American Indian reservations in the Dakotas to talk about oil pipelines. Greta Thunberg is appearing at panel discussions on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota at 5 p.m. Sunday and on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota on Tuesday.”

Says Nick Givas of Fox News, “President Trump has acted like a ‘global gangster’ and been overly reckless with his handling of American relations with Ukraine, said 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., during a Sunday television interview. Klobuchar appeared on ‘State of the Union,’ and was pressed by host Jake Tapper about her stance on whether she will convict Trump if articles of impeachment are passed by the House. … ‘I have been very clear, I think this is impeachable, that the case should be heard by the House and it should come over to the Senate,’ she said. ‘I don’t know what counts they’re going to have, or how they’re going to do this, but my focus is on the fact that you’ve got a president that’s acting like a global gangster.’”

Comments (29)

  1. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/07/2019 - 06:45 am.

    All one needs to know about the rank and file MPD was on exhibit at the fourth precincts Xmas tree.

    An amazing ignorance and tolerance of racist behavior.

    MPD cops for Trump?

    Birds of a feather…

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/07/2019 - 08:05 am.

    Anyone suspecting the neofascist leanings of MPD union leadership need only note this morning’s story in the ‘Strib about the “Cops for Trump” t-shirt, which would have us believe Mr. Kroll’s assertion that Donald Trump is “pro-law enforcement.”

    That latter phrase obviously only applies when it’s someone ELSE who’s being investigated. It’s the same guy who insisted “no collusion” when there demonstrably was, “no obstruction” when the evidence overwhelmingly says there was, and now solicits foreign intervention in our upcoming election, in clear violation of federal (and likely numerous state) laws, documented for all to see. Add equally well-documented racism, misogyny, and the 4th-grade-bully name-calling of people he doesn’t like, and Mr. Kroll’s affection for Trump suggests that even-handed enforcement of society’s rules is far, far down on Kroll’s (and Trump’s) list of priorities.

    Kroll’s words and action suggest that any suspicion some white folks might have that the rules of society are not being fairly and uniformly enforced are spot-on. As an elderly white guy, I can’t speak to their experience first-hand, but I suspect people of color likely already know this in their bones. If Kroll wants to wear a Trump t-shirt, he should be willing to go off-duty and change into civilian clothes to do so. I’m long retired, but if I were still teaching, there’d be quite an uproar if I wore an equivalent “Teachers for Bernie” t-shirt to my high school social studies classes, should Senator Sanders come to town.

    • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 10/08/2019 - 08:53 am.

      “…in clear violation of federal (and likely numerous state) laws…”

      I want to touch on this for a moment. I don’t know much about election laws, but my understanding is that states run their own elections. i.e. there technically is no “federal election”, except for maybe the Electoral College. If that is the case, and states determine that a candidate for President has broken those states’ laws, can a candidate be disallowed from being on the ballot?

  3. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/07/2019 - 09:09 am.

    “I were still teaching, there’d be quite an uproar if I wore an equivalent “Teachers for Bernie” t-shirt to my high school social studies classes”

    Betting there wouldn’t be any uproar if you wore it to “Obama Elementary” (re-named from Webster Elementary 1 year after Obama’s election and 7 years before his re-election).

    We’d also be remiss not to observe that wearing a uniform was perfectly acceptable during appearances with Obama and Clinton.

    Given the Mayor’s spiteful rebuke of Trumps upcoming visit, suggesting this ban is anything other than a petty political maneuver is an insult to our intelligence.

    • Submitted by Barry Tungseth on 10/07/2019 - 09:55 am.

      NOooooo….. Not even close.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/07/2019 - 09:59 am.

      “We’d also be remiss not to observe that wearing a uniform was perfectly acceptable during appearances with Obama and Clinton.”

      Can you give us examples when uniformed police appeared onstage at Obama or Clinton campaign rallies?

      I saw the right-wing agitprop outlets that make reference to officer “forced into” photo ops with Obama, but that tells me nothing.

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/07/2019 - 10:50 am.

        Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau calls President Obama the best ally for law enforcement in the fight against gun violence as she introduces him in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

        • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 10/07/2019 - 11:22 am.

          Again, not a campaign rally. Obama was drumming up support for his policies, whether you agree with them or not.

          Also, this event took place shortly after Obama was elected to a 2nd term, so – again – not a campaign event.

          • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/07/2019 - 11:57 am.

            “… drumming up support for his policies”

            Trump is coming to Minneapolis to drum up support for his policies; the MPD wants to endorse them, but the lefties in control won’t allow it. It’s not hard to understand.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/07/2019 - 01:27 pm.

              Clarification that should not be necessary: Trump is coming to Minneapolis to drum up support for his re-election campaign.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/07/2019 - 11:23 am.

          I specifically asked about campaign rallies. This appearance was in 2013, when President Obama was not campaigning.

          Try again.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 10/07/2019 - 10:45 am.

      This presumes there is something to insult.

    • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 10/07/2019 - 11:14 am.

      It’s both. The union president has spoken of his rank and file being required to go to Obama rallies and were also required to wear the uniform.
      The mayor and council’s ‘out’ has been that this has been in the works ‘for about a year.’ You bet it has. They wanted to lay the groundwork for when Trump comes to Mpls, they just did not know when.
      Of course we all are expected to believe them on their words anyway. Just part of the usual playbook. What they say is always the truth and no need to question it.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/07/2019 - 11:35 am.

        “The union president has spoken of his rank and file being required to go to Obama rallies and were also required to wear the uniform.”

        Yes, they would wear their uniforms if they were there to provide security, and I suppose it would be normal practice to “order” officers to attend as part of a security detail.

        Frankly, I don’t know if I would believe a word Lt. Kroll says. His disdain for the city he supposedly serves is obvious.

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/07/2019 - 12:45 pm.

      Nice try, but it doesn’t work. I didn’t teach in Minnesota, and in the district where I taught, that sort of political expression was strictly forbidden, no matter who I might have supported. My high school was named after a former superintendent and a direction, which was bad enough.

      RB Holbrook’s point about campaign rallies is spot-on. I’ve no objection to police wearing uniforms if they’re providing security, but if all they’re doing is indicating their personal support of a serial liar and philanderer, they ought to be in civilian clothes.

    • Submitted by John Evans on 10/13/2019 - 04:33 pm.

      No, I honestly think we aught not to let cops in uniform appear to be backing political candidates.

      Police departments often support reasonable laws to control hand guns, or legislation to appropriate federal funds to hire more cops. But that’s different than supporting a candidate while in uniform. The uniform should remain above electoral politics, if only because it has to endure no matter the political regime.

      That uniform belongs to the people of Minneapolis. If you want to be a Cop for Trump, do it on your own time, and keep the department out of it.

  4. Submitted by Roy Everson on 10/07/2019 - 12:18 pm.

    One might at least hope the cops for Trump t-shirts aren’t brown.

  5. Submitted by Brian Scholin on 10/07/2019 - 02:05 pm.

    I’ve been a union member all my life, and I just don’t get this sort of irrational behavior. Do they think they’ll convince anyone in Minneapolis to vote for Trump by wearing those shirts? Do they think the shirts will foster better relations with the Council or the public? If so, they are really more delusional than I would have guessed.

    The only appropriate function for a union is to improve things for their members. This will not do it, even in Kroll’s wildest dreams. And I really don’t even want to think about those…

  6. Submitted by Joe Musich on 10/07/2019 - 08:45 pm.

    So I visited the site for the cops for orange plus sac tees were being sold. That would be the Mpls Cops Union site. There were about 3700 followers. Not much posted about typical union issues like, wages, retirement, advancement job security, healthcare and the like. There was complaining about downtown crime. However not much taking credit for the fact crime is down city wide. And good for them it is. Lot of it looks to be like somone picking a fight. Not good. Not sure from this how many cops really support their union head. But for at least the people who are suppose to protecting and serving and are doing that good for them. It is from those who support the one with the great unmatched wisdom I fear. Go there and make your own decision.

  7. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/08/2019 - 07:41 am.

    Makes you wonder the level of cognizance for our local boys in blue and their leadership, when the guy they support is supporting what ever he can to reduce union activities!

    Suspect Mr. Kroll must really like the direction below, He should recommend it to our city leaders.

    “The orders also would give management a freer hand in disciplining employees for alleged misconduct, give employees only the minimum required opportunity to improve before disciplining them for poor performance and generally require that agencies move as fast as the law allows. The court injunction did not address most of those provisions, except to the extent that grievance rights and other procedures have been negotiated into contracts.”

    You just can’t make this stuff up!

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/08/2019 - 08:36 am.

      Yeah, any labor union that endorses Republicans is simply daft. These guys days are numbered… it’s just a matter of time before Republicans attack the “waste”, “fraud”, and “abuse” of police unions the way they attack the teacher’s unions. It’s the same tax dollars that Republicans always want to slash. I suppose these dopes think that the new privatized police forces that Republicans fantasize about will ALL be unionized eh?

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/08/2019 - 08:31 am.

    Yeah, at a time when racial profiling is promoting an epidemic of police shooting unarmed and otherwise innocent people of color… these guys want to endorse fascists. They may as well be selling hoods and burning crosses.

    I’m not saying they don’t have a “right”… but they’re telling us who they are my friends… take note, brown shirts can be “blue”.

  9. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/08/2019 - 11:37 am.

    The long history of MPD union leadership as being contrary to everything other than wage increases and relaxed hours never hit a higher or more illuminating note than the terms of Mayor Charlie Stenvig.

    Stenvig was President of the MPD union, the Bob Kroll of the day. He runs and wins as the “law and order” mayor in the late 60s. Before you know it he is cross ways with the MPD union’s new leadership.

    Nothing will ever satisfy these guys.

    Make them live in the city, preferably in the precinct they serve in.

    This will weed out the racist head knockers who took the job for regular adrenaline rushes and a great early retirement program.

  10. Submitted by Susan Lesch on 10/08/2019 - 12:15 pm.

    I like police usually. But Mr. Kroll might change my mind with their shirt. He and his buddies did not have to publicly support a man who said, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

  11. Submitted by Bob Johnson on 10/08/2019 - 01:48 pm.

    Now that Mayor Frey has sent the Trump campaign a bill for $530,000 for security costs, Trump will sue.
    Brings to mind a Johnny Cash song, ‘A Boy Named Sue’…which should be Trump’s name.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/08/2019 - 02:38 pm.

      As I understand it, the bill was sent by AEG, the management of Target Center, after the City told them that they would be responsible for the added security costs. The Trump Conspiracy is threatening to sue them if the rally is not allowed to go forward.

  12. Submitted by ian wade on 10/09/2019 - 07:33 pm.

    Kroll is the poster boy for why so many people have a low opinion of the police.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/11/2019 - 09:21 am.

    What’s funny about guys like Kroll is they whine about someone limiting their “free speech” when their banned from wearing their uniforms while speaking… but if all he want’s to do is speak “freely” and express his opinion… why does he want to wear his uniform while doing that in the first place? Clearly it’s not about HIS right to speak, it’s about pretending that HE speaks for the entire force, which he doesn’t. The fact that he feels “oppressed” when he has speak on his own behalf rather than pretend he’s speaking on the cities or his fellow officers behalf, tell us to his sense of privilege and entitlement.

Leave a Reply