#Minneapolis police chief once filed racial discrimination lawsuit against boss

#Minneapolis police chief once filed racial discrimination lawsuit against boss

The controversial head of the Minneapolis police union — who called the protests over George Floyd’s death a “terrorist movement” — was once accused of racism in a lawsuit brought against the city by the city’s now-police chief, according to court papers reviewed by The Post.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo was one of five black cops who filed the 2007 civil rights complaint, alleging systemic “race and color discrimination” in the department.

The officers claimed that black officers in the city’s police ranks were routinely passed over for promotion and overtime, and were consistently targeted for harassment, according to the complaint.

In one instance, they said all black cops were sent a hate letter through internal department mail in 1992 signed “KKK” and threatening to kill them, the lawsuit said.

The suit also claims that Lt. Bob Kroll, the now-head of the city’s police union, wore a motorcycle jacket with a “White Power” badge, and made disparaging remarks about gay and minority officials.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria ArradondoAP

The complaint also claimed that in 2007, the lieutenant gave all the plush overtime assignments to white cops after the collapse of the I-35W bridge.

Kroll came under fire last week amid violent demonstrations over the death of George Floyd after he called on the media to focus on what he called Floyd’s “violent criminal history,” and then called demonstrations in the wake of his death a “terrorist movement.”

The 2007 lawsuit wasn’t brought against Kroll but alleges he was part of the toxic culture in the department.

“Over the last approximately twenty years, African American officers employed by defendant Minneapolis have been subjected to a hostile work environment and have been subjected to disparate treatment and disparate impact on the bases (sic) of their race and color,” the lawsuit said.

“They have also been subjected to retaliation for opposing and reporting such conduct.”

The suit, which named the city and then-Police Chief Timothy Dolan, was settled in 2009 for $800,000, according to the Daily Mail.

Word of the past federal suit comes as Arradondo announced Wednesday that he was breaking off negotiations with Kroll and the union in the wake of George Floyd’s racially charged death in police custody on May 25, saying he needs more authority to weed out rogue cops.

Arradondo, a police lieutenant at the time of the lawsuit, joined the department in 1989.

The suit says he and four other black cops — Donald Harris, Charles Adams, Dennis Hamilton, and Lee Edwards — claimed there was only one black police officer above the rank of lieutenant in the department. And that officer was due to retire, the suit said.

Police officers including Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, foreground, take a knee as the body of George Floyd arrives before his memorial services in Minneapolis.
Police officers including Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, foreground, take a knee as the body of George Floyd arrives before his memorial services in Minneapolis.AP

They alleged there were also repercussions for speaking up.

“In 2007, defendant Dolan, in response to a suggestion by another officer that plaintiff Arradondo be considered for an enhanced career opportunity, stated, ‘Well, you know, he has filed a (civil rights) charge against us… so its no,’ clearly implying that this protected conduct would cost plaintiff Arradondo a chance at a job.

“This racially discriminatory and retaliatory work environment permeates defendant Minneapolis from the position of Police Chief on down through the ranks.”

Kroll, who was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment.

The telephone for the city police union was not in service Wednesday, and the police did not respond to a request for contact information. Attorneys involved in the case did not respond to requests for comment.

Lawyers for the city and Dolan denied wrongdoing in court papers filed in the case.


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