Crowd Cries 'Shame' After Minneapolis Mayor Answers 'No' To Defunding Police -
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Crowd Cries ‘Shame’ After Minneapolis Mayor Answers ‘No’ To Defunding Police

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey leaves after coming out of his home to speak during a demonstration calling for the Minneapolis Police Department to be defunded on Saturday in Minneapolis. Mayor Frey declined when he was asked if he would fully defund the police and was then asked to leave the protest.

An uproar of boos and chants of “shame!” and “go home, Jacob” followed Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey after he told a crowd of protesters he didn’t support defunding the city’s police.

The scene, which was widely shared online, occurred during a march Saturday, calling for the city to defund the police department in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

Frey went to address the crowd, who had stopped near his home, and was asked by a speaker if he supported defunding the police department. In videos of the encounter, Frey is heard discussing systemic racism and reigning in police unions. He is soon overwhelmed by a chant of “yes or no.”

The speaker then matter-of-factly states to the mayor, “Jacob Frey, we have a yes or no question for you.”

Frey’s answer gets drowned out in most videos of the exchange. Though Minnesota Public Radio reported Frey answered in the negative.

“I am absolutely for a massive shift, a structural shift in how the police department functions, I’ll say it again. And as for abolishing the entire police department — no, I’m not, and I’ll be honest about that, too,” Frey said.

The throng then breaks out in cries of “go home, Jacob. Go home.” Protesters can also be heard shouting “shame” as Frey is seen cutting through the crowd.

Calls to defund and dismantle police departments have gained traction since Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. Several members of the Minneapolis City Council have recently taken up the charge, among them Lisa Bender and Jeremiah Ellison.

“And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together. We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response. It’s really past due,” Ellison said in a tweet last week.

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Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar has also join calls to dismantle the Minneapolis police department. On Saturday, Omar told protesters that reforms to police departments have repeatedly failed to stop police killings of black men and women.

“We’ve all seen what happens when good people of good conscience say, ‘Let’s invest in diversity training,’ ” said Omar. “Let’s try to explain our humanity and make them see us as dignified people. Maybe that will stop them from killing us.”

Frey, a former civil rights attorney, was elected the city’s mayor in 2017, following an election where police reform proved a central issue.

On Friday, Frey signed a council-approved agreement to ban chokeholds and implement several other changes to police procedures. The reforms came after the state opened a civil rights investigation into the city’s police department.

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