A police union chief in Minneapolis has described slain black man George Floyd as a "violent criminal" and the protests following his death as "terrorist movement" in a letter to police officers.
Lieutenant Bob Kroll, the president of the Minneapolis police union, wrote to its members in the wake of the arrest of Derek Chauvin on charges of murdering Floyd and the firing of three other officers involved in the incident.
In the letter, obtained by the Star-Tribune, Kroll said that media were not revealing details of Floyd's criminal history.
"What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd. The media will not air this. I've worked with the four defence attorneys that are representing each of our four terminated individuals under criminal investigation, in addition with our labour attorneys to fight for their jobs. They were terminated without due process," wrote Kroll.
Floyd had served time in prison for aggravated robbery but video from the scene showed that he was not armed or acting in a violent manner when he was killed, nor was he suspected of a violent crime.
Elsewhere in the letter, Kroll hit out at the protestors.
"This terrorist movement that is currently occurring was a long time build up which dates back years," he said.
Former Minneapolis police chief Janeé Harteau took to Twitter to condemn Kroll, saying he was a "disgrace to the badge".
Kroll blamed a lack of support from politicians for the police's inability to control the violent protests.
"What has been very evident throughout this process is you have lacked support from the top ... Given the right numbers, the right equipment and your ability to use them would have ended this Tuesday night," he wrote.
"I've noted in press conferences from our mayor, our governor, and beyond, how they refuse to acknowledge the work of the MPD (Minneapolis police department) and continually shift blame to it. It is despicable behaviour. How our command staff can tolerate it and live with themselves I do not know.
"No one with the exception of us is willing to recognise and acknowledge the extreme bravery you have displayed through this riot. You have my utmost respect," he added.
Kroll also revealed he had received death threats in the wake of Floyd's death.
Kroll, who once spoke at a rally for President Donald Trump, has a long history of opposing police reform.
After the letter was made public, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said Kroll's opposition to reform and lack of empathy for the community has undermined trust in the police.