Protesters booted Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey from a protest Saturday after he told demonstrators that he would not commit to defunding the city’s 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 organizers that he would not commit to defunding the Minneapolis police department — after four officers have been charged in the death 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 organizers 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 organizers 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 organizer reminded the large group of protesters that Frey is up for reelection in 2021.
Frey responded by shaking his head and saying, “I do not support the full abolition of the police department.”
In response, the organizer took the microphone from him and told him to “get the fuck out of here.”
As he walked away, protesters chanted, “Go home, Jacob. Go home!”
During the protests sparked by Floyd’s death, 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.”
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 Minneapolis residents and police, and prompted a continued series of nationwide — and global — protests against racism and police brutality.