Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has been booed out of a Black Lives Matter demonstration after refusing to defund the city’s police department – as Rep. Ilhan Omar calls for it to be disbanded.
Frey on Saturday proved to be at odds with activists fighting police brutality just two days after he sobbed uncontrollably at the foot of George Floyd’s gold coffin during a memorial service.
The mayor arrived to the demonstration in plain clothes and a face mask to address dozens of protesters about the future of the now-embattled Minneapolis Police Department.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (center) was booed out of a Black Lives Matter protest after refusing to defund the city’s police department on Saturday
‘Jacob Frey, we have a yes or no question,’ a woman leading the protest asked, prompting cheers from the crowd. ‘Yes or no, will you commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department?’
The woman then states that protesters want ‘no more police’ and reminded them that Frey’s response should be considered ahead of the city’s mayoral election next year.
‘And if he says no, guess what the f*** we’re going to do next year?’ the woman asks the cheering crowd.
The woman then demands the mayor leave after he refuses their request.
‘Alright, get the f*** out of here! Bye!’ the woman says.
The crowd of protesters begin to boo Frey and chant ‘Go home Jacob, go home!’ Others yelled ‘Shame, shame, shame!’
Frey is then forced to walk through the upset crowd as they continue to shout at him to go home.
A woman who appeared to lead the protest asked Frey ‘Yes or no, will you commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department?’
Frey, pictured walking away, told the group pf protesters he would not defund the Minneapolis Police Department amid demonstrations over police brutality
In a statement to WCCO, Frey doubled down on his refusal to totally ‘abolish’ the Minneapolis Police Department.
‘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,”‘ said Frey.
‘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.’
At another protest on Saturday, Rep. Ilhan Omar declared ‘it’s time to disband the Minneapolis Police Department’.
‘I will never cosign on funding a police department that continues to brutalize us and I will never stop saying, not only do we need dis-invest police but we need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,’ she said.
Her comments come as city council members consider disbanding the entire department because it is ‘beyond reform’ after Floyd’s death.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (pictured): ”I will never cosign on funding a police department that continues to brutalize us and I will never stop saying, not only do we need dis-invest police but we need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department’
‘The Minneapolis Police Department is rotten to the root,’ Omar continued. ‘And so when we dismantle it we get rid of that cancer and we allow for something to rise. And that reimagining allows us to figure out what public safety looks like.’
Omar’s remarks received some backlash on Twitter from users who believed defuding Minneapolis’ police force is going too far.
‘See… this is where the movement will lose a lot of support. Do we have a problem with police brutality? Yes,’ one user wrote.
‘Do police agencies need to be reformed? Yes. Do we need the police disbanded? My god no. And if you do, the poor will suffer the most.’
Frey’s handling of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests that have surged across Minneapolis has been under intense scrutiny.
Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died on May 25 after pleading ‘I can’t breathe’ while white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd later died at a hospital. Since then, several protests against police brutality and systematic racism have sparked. Minneapolis entered their 12th night of protests on Friday night.
Following Floyd’s death, all four officers pictured in cell phone footage of the incident were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department
Mayor Frey (pictured) has received backlash for his response to protests by residents and President Trump on Twitter
Cell phone footage of Floyd’s death that went viral on social media prompted Frey to call for each of the involved officer’s arrests, with a murder charge for Chauvin.
‘I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?’ said Frey two days after Floyd’s death.
‘If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now. And I cannot come up with a good answer to that.’
He added that the anger seen by protesters was ‘ingrained in our black community not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years.’
As some peaceful protests in Minneapolis turned unexpectedly volatile, Frey implored residents to end the violence after a police precinct was torched.
‘Please, please, Minneapolis,’ Frey pleaded, according to The Star Tribune, ‘We cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy. The activity around Lake and Hiawatha is now unsafe. Please, help us keep the peace.’
He received backlash from law enforcement who believed he was ‘content with letting the city be overrun’.
‘We are a police force totaling over 800 officers with far, far less than that on active duty at a given time. Simply by the numbers, we were going to be overwhelmed. It’s a matter of math, not planning,’ Frey stated.
But as building continued to be set ablaze and instance of violence marred Minneapolis, Frey attempted to shift blame onto ‘white supremacists, members of organized crime, out-of-state instigators, and possibly even foreign actors’ for the civil unrest.
Pictured: People hold signs and protest against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Thursday
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (center) attended a memorial service held for George Floyd in the city on Thursday
He later backtracked on this claim after arrest reports showed many of the detained protesters were local residents.
President Trump lambasted Frey on Twitter and said there was a ‘total lack of leadership’ from Frey.
‘I can’t stand back and watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership,’ Trump wrote.
‘Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.
‘These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the military is with him all the way.
‘Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.’
Frey responded that President Trump had no idea what he was talking about.
‘Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell. This is a difficult time, yes, but you better be damn sure that we’re going to get through this,’ he told a reporter.
Later that day, Frey activated the National Guard as officials braced for more nights of protests.
Residents and others blasted the move over concerns of militarizing law enforcement against its own American citizens and government overreach.
The turn against Frey became worse after he declared a state of emergency in Minneapolis and imposed a weekend long curfew for residents.
Despite the order, demonstrations continued in Minneapolis and other cities as state governments followed suit.
On Thursday, Frey made a public appearance at a memorial for George Floyd held at a sanctuary at North Central University.
He was seen kneeling and weeping next to Floyd’s coffin at one point during the memorial service.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey kneels in front of George Floyd’s gold casket and sobs
The next day, the Minneapolis Police Department banned the use of chokeholds by law enforcement.
Negotiators for the city agreed with the state of Minnesota to not only ban chokeholds but to require officers to report and intervene anytime they see an unauthorized use of force by another officer.
It was announced as the Minneapolis City Council held an emergency meeting to discuss what changes need to be made to the police department in the wake of Floyd’s death.
At least four members of the 13-person council have voiced support for the department’s complete disbanding.
Frey opposed to total removal of law enforcement and instead called for reform, according to KSTP.
Frey is reportedly ‘figuring out how to provide necessary discipline and determination so we can have the culture shift and the accountability measures in place that are so necessary.’