Mayor Slams Police Union Head’s ‘Jackass Remarks’

     MINNEAPOLIS (CN) — Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges condemned “jackass remarks” made by the leader of the city’s police union, who praised officers for walking off the job at a Minnesota Lynx basketball game.
     Four Minneapolis police officers walked off duty prior to the start of the Minnesota Lynx game at the Target Center on Saturday in response to players’ decision to wear “Black Lives Matter” pregame jerseys that also included the Dallas Police logo on the back.
     The jersey’s front said, “Change Starts With Us, Justice & Accountability”
     Two days later, Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, stated in an interview that he “commended” the officers for leaving their post and predicted other officers would do the same, according to a Star Tribune report.
     He also said that only four officers worked the Saturday game because the Lynx, a Women’s National Basketball Association team, are a “pathetic draw.”
     Mayor Hodges fired back at Kroll’s comments in a statement posted on her Facebook page Tuesday.
     “Bob Kroll’s remarks about the Lynx are jackass remarks,” she said. “Let me be clear: labor leadership inherently does not speak on behalf of management. Bob Kroll sure as hell doesn’t speak for me about the Lynx or about anything else.”
     Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau issued a separate statement, saying she expects “all officers to adhere to our core values and to honor their oath of office” while wearing a Minneapolis Police uniform.
     “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,” Harteau said.
     She added, “While I do not condone the actions of the officers, I realize how every member of law enforcement throughout this country, including myself, is feeling right now. Everyone is hurting and we all need to find a way to come together. I am proud of our profession and the service our officers provide on a daily basis. Accountability is a must but police officers also deserve and need public support.”
     At a pregame news conference, Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson said the players were “wearing shirts to honor and mourn the loss of precious American citizens and to plead change for all of us,” the Star Tribune reported.
     “We are highlighting a longtime problem of racial profiling,” said forward Maya Moore, the 2014 WNBA MVP.
     But Kroll said the Lynx players made an “unwarranted and reckless” early judgment concerning the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile last week.
     Police sign up for off-duty jobs to work Lynx games, Kroll said.
     “They can start or stop a job whenever they want,” he reportedly said. “They are working on an independent contract.”
     In 2015, the Lynx drew in more than 17,000 fans to one game, breaking a franchise record. The team won its third WNBA Championship that same year.

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