Tensions brewing between Minneapolis officials and police union before presidential rally

Ahead of President Donald Trump's rally, there have been growing tensions between city officials and the Minneapolis Police Federation. 

The situation between the city and federation started heating up after Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced a new policy last week saying off-duty police officers could not wear their uniforms while out supporting a political candidate. For Thursday’s event, on-duty officers inside and outside of the rally will be wearing their police uniforms as part of their job requirements.

Due to the policy change, the federation has been selling “Cops for Trump” t-shirts. Federation leaders say they’ve sold more than 2,000 shirts – and they are getting an additional 1,000 shirts on the day of the rally.  

President of the Federation Bob Kroll said with nearly all Minneapolis Police officers working Thursday, people wearing the shirts at the rally will mostly be average civilians. He also says their strong support for President Trump or any political candidate is nothing unusual. He says the federation has a history of supporting candidates on both sides of the aisle.

"I’ve been on the board for 24 years and nothing’s changed as far as who we’ve supported,” said Kroll. “Behind the scenes certainly, maybe now we’re more vocal about it, but in these times when it’s becoming law and order and right versus wrong - you gotta step up and be vocal. I’m not worried about it."

Some city leaders say they’re concerned about the message the Federation’s strong support sends to the people of Minneapolis, saying the police department is not supposed to take any political side.

"It’s concerning because it is a very political stance and we would hope that our police department is apolitical in carrying out their duties as police officers in the city of Minneapolis," said Minneapolis City Council Member Andrea Jenkins of Ward 8.

Despite tensions between the city and the police federation, officials say there has been a very coordinated effort – across multiple agencies – to ensure people’s safety downtown Thursday night.