By Sarah Lazare / AlterNet’s Grayzone Project
Editor’s note: In light of the police murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, The Grayzone is republishing this June 3, 2016 report from our archives by Sarah Lazare. The report details a long history of racist brutality by the Minneapolis Police Department and the presence of a “white power” biker club within its ranks. Minneapolis Police Officer’s Federation leader Lt. Bob Kroll is one among many members of the club, called City Heat.
Following the videotaped killing of Floyd, Kroll – who has been implicated in a long string of violent abuses and publicly endorsed Donald Trump – stated, “Now is not the time rush to judgement and immediately condemn our officers.”
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The head of the Minneapolis Police Officer’s Federation has claimed that activists from the city’s Black Lives Matter movement comprises a “terrorist organization.” But a closer look at Lieutenant Bob Kroll’s record indicates that he is the one who poses a danger to the public, with a past marred in accusations of racist violence and attitudes, including charges from fellow police officers that he once wore a “white power” badge on his motorcycle jacket.
Kroll’s outrageous statement about local civil rights protesters is part of a wider of pattern of incorporating war on terror-style rhetoric to demonize local African-American activists and politicians, even comparing them to the Islamic extremists who attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Such devices have also been routinely used across the country to criminalize Muslim-American communities, which face arbitrary surveillance, profiling and entrapment at the hands of law enforcement authorities.
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