Minneapolis, MN – A sudden policy change has prohibited uniformed Minneapolis police officers from appearing in uniform at political events.
But the officers say that the change won't stop them from showing their broad support for President Donald Trump when he visits the city on Oct. 10.
Minneapolis Police Lieutenant Bob Kroll, the president of the Police Officer’s Federation of Minneapolis, told Blue Lives Matter that his membership is most upset about the “hypocrisy” being demonstrated by the rule change.
For years, uniformed Minneapolis police officers have been used as props in photo ops with Democratic politicians, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Lt. Kroll explained.
He said that for years, Minneapolis police officers supported Democratic candidates because of the labor connection, and the police federation was allowed to appear in ads and align themselves with candidates they endorsed with no objection.
But in recent years, the tide has changed, and the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis has not endorsed Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) candidates.
“Because they’ve kind of turned their backs on the police and many other working people, we’ve shifted gears and we’ve been endorsing Republicans for the last several years,” Lt. Kroll told Blue Lives Matter. “So now they’ve said, ‘no longer can you wear your uniform to support your political candidates.’”
He told Blue Lives Matter that officers remember being ordered to appear behind the dais when President Obama visited the city to push his gun control agenda in 2013.
“They’re upset because it’s the hypocrisy,” Lt. Kroll said. “All kinds of photos of our command staff have surfaced of our officials behind President Obama because they were ordered to be there.”
City officials, however, seem totally opposed to rolling out the welcome wagon for the current President of the United States.
Within hours of President Trump announcing he was having a rally in Minneapolis in October, the city’s mayor released a shocking statement that said the Commander in Chief wasn’t welcome in his fair city.
“Under ordinary circumstances, it would be an honor to welcome a sitting President of the United States to Minneapolis and to showcase all our city has to offer on the national stage,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a written statement. “But these aren’t ordinary circumstances. Since taking office President Trump’s actions have been reprehensible and his rhetoric has made it clear that he does not value the perspectives or rights of Minneapolis’ diverse communities.”
“On October 10, our entire city will stand not behind the President, but behind the communities and people who continue to make our city – and this country – great. While there is no legal mechanism to prevent the President from visiting, his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis,” Frey said.
But Lt. Kroll told Blue Lives Matter the mayor does not speak for his union’s membership.
“Jacob Frey released his statement within hours saying [President Trump’s] not welcome here,” the union boss said. “That’s obviously not how the police department feels because pretty much all of my members are Trump supporters.”
“It was just the opposite under Obama,” Lt. Kroll continued. “Obama had an anti-police agenda from the start and the Trump administration has been a breath of fresh air for law enforcement.”
He told Blue Lives Matter that his membership doesn’t plan to break the new no-uniform rule, but they also have no plans to be invisible at President Trump’s rally.
Lt. Kroll said t-shirts have been donated and were being embroidered to reflect the Minneapolis police officers’ support for President Trump.
“We are making shirts that show law enforcement’s support for Trump, and we’ll make sure they’re seen one way or the other, inside and outside,” the lieutenant told Blue Lives Matter.