Lt. Bob Kroll is the controversial head of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, the city's police union. In that capacity, Kroll represents some 800 members.
But not the city of Minneapolis. That'd be Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau. The distinction is an important one to keep in mind.
On Tuesday, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges offered a helpful reminder to her constituents that Kroll's is not an official city position — and she doesn't stand behind a word he says.
Monday night, Kroll backed the decision of four city cops to walk off the job as off-duty security workers for a Minnesota Lynx game at the Target Center, saying he "commended" their move.
Kroll further hinted that other cops would turn down the same gig in the future until the Lynx rescinded their support for Black Lives Matter, Philando Castile, and Alton Sterling. (The black shirts team members wore for warm-ups also contained a reference to the five police officers killed in Dallas last week; Kroll seemed not to notice.)
In an egregious twisting of the knife, Kroll said only four officers were working the game because of the team's "pathetic" ticket sales.
Hodges blasted back with a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon.
Harsh words from Hodges, who rarely speaks with such a sharp tongue, and if anything has a reputation for erring on the safe side during heated conflicts about policing.
Harteau, for her part, issued a less bombastic statement, but one that also disagreed with the officers' actions. She understands how police officers are feeling, saying, "Accountability is a must but police officers also need and deserve public support."
But for Harteau, that doesn't excuse the coordinated walk-outs from Monday's WNBA game.
"Although these officers were working on behalf of the Lynx," Harteau said, "when wearing a Minneapolis Police uniform I expect all officers to adhere to our core values and 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."
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