What do all the people saying good riddance to Bob Kroll have in common?
We have journalists like Star Tribune columnist Jennifer Brooks, leaders of community groups like Black Lives Matter, and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, all saying good riddance to Bob Kroll.
Well, here's what they all have in common: None of them are a front line law enforcement officer.
Notice that Brooks ("And good riddance, Bob Kroll," Jan. 19) neglected to include officers' views in her diatribe against the retiring president of the Minneapolis police union. Perhaps not everyone is on the bandwagon. Many of them would like him to stay.
It often seems like this angry group of doomsayers fail to realize what Kroll's job was as union president. As actor Kevin Bacon said while playing a military prosecutor in "A Few Good Men," "I represent the United States without passion or prejudice, and my client has a case."
This is similar to the union president's position. He represents Minneapolis police officers, including those accused of misdeeds, sometimes for inappropriate use-of-force. And he represents them without passion or prejudice.
His job is not to form a conclusion of his own about whether the officer behaved properly or improperly. His job is to support that officer until a fair, impartial determination has been made. Not the determination made by a community group. Not the determination made by watchers of Facebook who see a video and then protest. Not the determination of journalists who report on the incident with their special styling and finally, not necessarily the determination made by the mayor and police chief.
While it would be much easier to just throw any accused officer under the bus when community groups demand the officer be fired — since a video someone took and posted on social media depicts the officer using force against someone — the job demands that a union leader supports that officer (or officers) until all the facts are in and the accused are properly exonerated or disciplined.
We need to remember that it never looks good for an officer to use force while arresting a criminal suspect. And while it is always tragic when an officer is forced to use deadly force, it is not always inappropriate. Videos taken at arrest scenes often depict someone resisting arrest being forced into handcuffs by whatever force is necessary.
While it may seem to some like the cops are enjoying these fights, I assure you they are not. They are fighting for their lives in every single incident when someone resists arrest, as there is always at least one gun — the officer's — to be claimed by the victor of that fight.
These use of force situations are complicated, and simply shouting that the police are wrong and racist and brutal — the typical knee-jerk reaction — is premature and presumptive. An impartial, thorough investigation will determine these things rather than protesters, community groups and journalists.
It was Kroll's job to make sure that officers received this fair treatment.
I don't know Kroll. Never met him. I don't care what his politics are since they are irrelevant to his job. Perhaps he could have been less caustic with journalists, community groups and police administrators. But if I were a front line cop involved in a controversial use of force incident I would want someone willing to withstand the pressure to fire me right now.
Now someone new will have Kroll's job. But the job description remains the same. Will she be able to support accused officers without passion or prejudice? I hope so.
Richard Greelis, of Bloomington, is an author and retired police detective and teacher.