Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, received a rude awakening from protesters on Saturday after he refused to support defunding the Minneapolis Police Department.
Protesters reportedly marched to Frey’s residence and demanded he speak with them. When he emerged, Frey affirmed much of what the protesters believe, including telling them, “the systemic racist system needs to be revamped.”
But the impromptu meeting took an unexpected turn when the protesters confronted Frey with a “yes or no” question.
“Yes or no: Will you commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department,” the lead demonstrator asked Frey. “We don’t want to more police. … It is a yes or a no. Will you defund the Minneapolis Police Department?”
The woman noted that it was important to hear Frey’s answer, and reminded the crowd that he is up for re-election next year.
Finally, after many tense moments, Frey said, “I do not support the full abolition of the police department.”
The raucous crowd immediately responded with loud boos. “Get the f**k out of here,” the lead demonstrator, the same one who confronted Frey, yelled.
“Go home, Jacob, go home!” the crowd chanted.
After being shamed by the crowd, Frey stopped to talk with local news media. He declared his support for police reforms, but reaffirmed that he does not support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department.
Frey said, according to WCCO-TV:
If you’re asking whether I’m for massive structural reform to revise a structurally racist system the answer is “yes.” If you’re asking whether I will do everything possible to push back on the inherent inequities that are literally built into the architecture the answer is “yes.”
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. I’m not for abolishing the entire police department, I will be honest about that.
However, Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender confirmed plans last week to “dismantle” the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a “transformative new model of public safety.”