Protesters booted Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey from a protest Saturday after he told demonstrators that he would not commit to defunding the police department.
During a peaceful protest led by the advocacy group Black Visions, demonstrators marched to Frey’s house, where he came out to meet them, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
When Frey, 38, told protest organisers that he would not commit to defunding the Minneapolis police department in the wake of the deadly arrest of George Floyd, protesters booed him and told him to leave.
The moment was filmed and shared widely online.
At first, Frey told the protest organisers that he had been “coming to grips with my own responsibility, my own failure in this” and said there needed to be “deep-seated, structural reform” within the Minneapolis Police Department.
Then, one of the protest organisers asked him whether he would commit to defunding the police department — and she asked the mayor to answer the question with a “yes” or “no.”
Speaking into a microphone, the organiser reminded the large group of protesters that he was up for re-election in 2021.
Frey responded to the question by shaking his head and saying, “I do not support the full abolition of the police department.”
In response, the organiser took the microphone from him and told him to “get the f*** out of here.”
As he walked away, protesters chanted, “Go home, Jacob. Go home!”
During the protests over the death of George Floyd, who was killed when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck during an arrest, many activists have called for state and local governments to “defund the police.”
The phrase is being used to describe an effort to cut police budgets and redirect that money to other agencies that support communities.
Frey later told local news station WCCO that he supported “massive structural reform” to Minneapolis’ police force and said he would do “everything possible to push back on the inherent inequities that are literally built into the architecture the answer is ‘yes.’”
However, he maintained that he does not support “abolishing the entire police department.”
“If you’re asking whether I’m willing to do everything I possibly can throughout the rest of my term to make sure that the police union, the police contract, the arbitration system, and some of these policies that have resulted in problems for specifically Black and Brown people and murder over series of generations, I’m all for that,” Frey told the news station. “I’m not for abolishing the entire police department, I will be honest about that.”
When Frey entered office in 2018, he vowed to mend the relationship between residents and the police department, the New York Times reported.
However, Floyd’s death has deepened the distrust between residents and police and has led to another round of nationwide protests against police brutality against Black people.