Twin Cities media condemned Black Lives Matter protestors for destroying piñatas bearing the likeness of Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Bob Kroll and Twin Cities’ WCCO anchor Liz Collins. The incident occurred in the couple’s neighborhood during a protest on August 15.
Kroll’s piñata was depicted in a police uniform sans pants, while Collins’s was depicted in typical anchorwoman attire. Both piñatas were cross-eyed and held parts of a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) outfit.
This is endorsed Democrat John Thompson, campaigning for State House in district 67A in St. Paul.
This newly emerged video shows him beating an effigy of the Minneapolis Police Union President and his wife in their own driveway on August 15. pic.twitter.com/oJ90WuEmww
— Kyle Hooten (@KyleHooten2) August 17, 2020
Michael Brodkorb, former deputy chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota and current Republican activist, brought light to the incident Monday, after one of the protestors tweeted that they “left candy and signs” for Kroll and Collins. Brodkorb insisted that all Minnesota journalists had a duty to speak out on the incident.
“The violent destruction of an effigy of a Minnesota journalist – @lizcollin – by protestors standing in the driveway of her home needs to be immediately denounced by the @mnspj and other journalists. This behavior is dangerous, harassing, and threatening.”
I don't understand, why would he delete this?
It still plays, by the way, for anyone with mobile screen video capture. pic.twitter.com/wVtSws4j0P
— Lady Love (@MeLectable) August 18, 2020
Several reporters immediately condemned the protestors’ behavior in replies to the tweet, including local Fox 9 anchor Karen Scullin.
Brodkorb pointed out that a direct quote from Collins was written on the back of her piñata likeness: “Is it a conflict of interest for me to be a journalist married to the Minneapolis police union boss? My answer is no.”
Several WCCO correspondents issued statements of their own denouncing the behavior. Radio host Cory Hepola tweeted that “symbolically beating up a woman journalist isn’t a solution” to initiating change for police reform. Anchor Jason DeRusha tweeted:
“Protest. Complain. Advocate. Speak out. Picket my station again! But making a piñata out of a journalist and beating it is disgusting, offensive and sad. This is where we are? That all of these intelligent people thought this was ok?”
Protest. Complain. Advocate. Speak out. Picket my station again! But making a piñata out of a journalist and beating it is disgusting, offensive and sad. This is where we are? That all of these intelligent people thought this was ok? https://t.co/etQ0QqfCOM
— Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ) August 18, 2020
Last Saturday’s protest was organized by the Racial Justice Network. After its organizers defended John Thompson’s controversial speech, founder Nekima Levy Armstrong deflected media condemnation over the piñatas with a retweeted comment to Brodkorb’s tweet.
“What I find interesting and sickening is that you are not calling upon @mnspj to denounced the violence, abuse, murder, and condoning of the behavior of killer cops by @lizcollin’s husband Bob KKKroll, head of the Minneapolis Police Federation. His behavior is actually dangerous.”
What I find interesting and sickening is that you are not calling upon @mnspj to denounce the violence, abuse, murder, and condoning of the behavior of killer cops by @lizcollin’s husband Bob KKKroll, head of the Minneapolis Police Federation. His behavior is actually dangerous. https://t.co/BzCPejrZqf
— Nekima Levy Armstrong (@nvlevy) August 18, 2020
In addition to members of the media, some state leaders began issuing their own responses to the incident. State Senator Jim Abeler (R- District 35A) asked Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Penny Flanagan to speak up on the issue as well.
Walz posted a general tweet condemning “threatening behavior and rhetoric” and stating that Minnesotans should “treat each other with decency and respect.” He did not address the piñata incident directly.
We cannot accept the threatening behavior and rhetoric we’ve seen recently in our political discourse. When I talk about building One Minnesota, it doesn't mean we all agree or that we won't fight for what we believe in. It means we treat each other with decency and respect.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) August 18, 2020
Flanagan retweeted Walz, issuing no comment of her own.
– – –