To the editor,
It was very disheartening to read through Tom West’s guest column of June 13 (Recent events display complete failure of government). He dedicated the entire piece to bashing our government and laying blame at the feet of our duly elected leaders, with complete disregard of past practices. We all recoiled from the damage and violence that followed the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin and his fellow MPD officers.
Tom West framed his entire piece around his first three paragraphs, in which he placed the blame for this senseless death on the victim. After that, he took aim at the DFL, writing that the firing of the four officers only presented an opportunity for those on the political left to stoke the flames of hate. West went on to attack Governor Walz, Minneapolis Mayor Frey, St. Paul Mayor Carter, and even National Guard Major General Jon Jensen for their handling of the crisis. He then went so far as to paint Goverbn Walz’s daughter, Hope, as a conspirator to rioters.
It has long been obvious to acute readers that West has a right-wing bias. Usually, though, his columns display more subtle influences of his leanings. Curiously, although he thoroughly bashed our standing political leaders, he made absolutely no mention of the militant, hard-right Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll. It is now recognized by myriad analysts that the influence of Kroll and his cohorts has had the greatest impact on marginalizing efforts to rein in the rouge, aggressive style of policing which has devastated populations of color in Minneapolis.
I am writing this as a former licensed peace officer and a strong union union advocate. It is the behavior of Bob Kroll, not Jacob Frey or Timn Walz, that led to this uprising. Bob Kroll’s stance is neither good for police nor for unions. His performance and attitude is counterproductive. Tom West, by seeking to lay blame on others, is just as counterproductive and disappointing.
Stephen A. Miltich