On Saturday, a Black Lives Matter mob led by a Democratic candidate for state representative and the leftist group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) marched to the home of Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll and his wife, reporter Liz Collins. They shouted into microphones and beat pinatas designed to look like Kroll and Collins.
John Thompson, who recently won the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party primary for State House District 67A, appears to have led the mob, along with CAIR and civil rights lawyer Nekima Levy Armstrong.
“I’m a black man being terrorized,” Thompson declares in a video captured by Alpha News. “Don’t run now, don’t run now, racist white people, I’m here.”
He condemned the “Blue Lives Matter” slogan, saying, “Blue lives ain’t s**t.” Then the candidate condemned the city of Hugo, Minnesota, because Kroll and Collins live there.
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He told a man holding a “Blue Lives Matter” sign to “take that sign” and “stick it in your a**,” Alpha News reported.
“These cowards in these blue uniforms, they can take that s**t off and go back to being regular people, shopping in our stores, making money off of our g*dd**n tax dollars,” Thompson added. “I’m glad y’all are making them uncomfortable here in Hugo, Minnesota.”
The videos show a group of teenage girls terrified by the massive crowd.
Photojournalist Rebecca Brannon captured footage of the crowd marching through Kroll’s neighborhood.
Signs read “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.” Many in the mob carried signs reading, “KKKroll Must Go” with an image of the police union leader’s head crossed out.
A left-leaning pastor, Nathan Irons Roberts, announced that “hundreds of [Black Lives Matter] protesters drove to Trump Supporting Minneapolis Police Union leader Bob Kroll & [Liz Collins]’ house.” He said Armstrong, Thompson, and CAIR leaders led the mob. He further claimed that police and “Trump supporting neighbors” surrounded the mob and “flashed guns” at them. CAIR has not responded to PJ Media’s request for comment about the harassment.
Roberts also shared a video of the mob smashing pinatas shaped like Kroll and Collins. “Bob and Liz weren’t home because they are cowards. So we left some candy and signs for them,” he tweeted ironically.
Thompson later offered a dubiously sincere apology for his disgusting actions.
“I became an activist and ran for the Legislature to make a difference, to work diligently to fix our broken criminal justice system, dismantle institutional racism, and honor my friend, Philando Castile and become a symbolism of hope within our community,” he said. “I want to make a positive difference, and my comments on Saturday were not helpful. Inflammatory rhetoric is not how I want to address the important issues we’re facing, and I apologize.”
Yet he also insisted he had received death threats for “speaking truth.”
The DFL Party had endorsed Thompson, but DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin condemned the candidate’s violent rhetoric. Martin cited Thompson’s apology, however, as a reason to continue the party’s endorsement.
“The Minnesota DFL does not condone any rhetoric which is violent, hateful, or inflammatory. We expect our candidates and elected officials to live up to our highest values when they represent our DFL Party,” Martin said.
“I cannot speak to or imagine the pain and anguish that John Thompson feels at the loss of his friend, Philando Castile, and the pain that so many Black Minnesotans feel after witnessing the murder of George Floyd. I’m grateful for the work John is doing to combat systemic racism, and I’m glad that he recognizes yesterday’s rhetoric was inflammatory, hurtful, and does not help move our state forward in the fight for justice,” the Democratic leader added.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), and Gov. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) have also endorsed Thompson but have yet to address the harassment this weekend.
Kroll, a longtime police officer and former member of the Minneapolis SWAT team, has been involved in three officer shootings, has faced 20 internal affairs complaints, and became the subject of multiple lawsuits. After the killing of George Floyd, Kroll noted Floyd’s “violent criminal history” and condemned the five days of violent, destructive, and deadly George Floyd riots in Minneapolis as spurred on by a “terrorist movement.” The state’s teachers union and others called for Kroll’s resignation following these comments.
Kroll’s comments were defensible, and they do not make him a racist or a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This horrific mob attack was beyond the pale, and Thompson needs to do more than simply say, “I apologize.”
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.