Minneapolis Police Union Recruits Retired Cops As Trump 'Poll Challengers'

Mary Papenfuss
·2-min read

The Minneapolis police union is facing a warning after recruiting retired cops to work as “poll challengers” in a “problem” area of the city at the request of an attorney for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

“Targeting anyone for a challenge based on being in a so-called ‘problem area’ is unlawful and will not be permitted in Minnesota’s polling places,” Minnesota Secretary of State Steven Simon said.

State law guarantees voters the right to a peaceful polling place free of harassment or intrusion, Simon said.

The police union put out a call earlier this week for retired officers to be stationed at polling sites in “problem” areas on Election Day, the Star Tribune reported Thursday. It was not immediately clear which areas the Trump campaign considered to be problems.

Union officials took the action following a request from Trump campaign attorney William Willingham, who was identified on the email as senior legal adviser and director of Election Day operations for the campaign, according to the newspaper.

Willingham asked Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, in an email Wednesday to recruit up to 30 former officers to serve as poll “challengers” who would work shifts in a “problem area.”

“Poll Challengers do not ‘stop’ people, per se, but act as our eyes and ears in the field and call our hotline to document fraud,” Willingham wrote in the email, which was obtained by the Star Tribune. He said the campaign was seeking people “who won’t be afraid in rough neighborhoods.”

A Trump campaign spokesperson denied that Willingham was instructed to make the request — but defended it. Thea McDonald confirmed in a statement to The Associated Press that the attorney is a volunteer for the campaign who “has been assisting in Minnesota.”

She added: “Retired police officers are members of their communities, and as such are well within their rights to participate and...

Continue reading on HuffPost