The mayor reportedly refused to back calls to defund the city’s police department, which angered some protesters, who then told him to leave.
The Minneapolis Police Department was involved in the death of George Floyd. Floyd, an African American man, died in the custody of the department after former officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground by his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd’s death sparked unprecedented backlash and nationwide protests. According to Fox News, Frey has — like many Democratic officials — attempted to walk the fine line between supporting the protests and supporting the police. On Saturday, he apparently failed to do so.
The mayor refused to commit to abolishing or defunding the city’s police department, telling a protester that he has “been coming to grips with my own brokenness in this situation.”
“I do not support the full abolition of the Minneapolis Police Department,” he said after being pressed by some of the protesters.
“Alright, then get the f*ck out of here,” the mayor was then told.
“Go home Jacob, go home,” some protesters yelled, as others booed and chanted “shame, shame, shame” at Frey.
In one of the videos, the mayor was seen walking away from the demonstration as protesters chanted, threw objects, and showed him the middle finger.
Frey’s refusal to explicitly support aggressive reform measures and the protesters’ reaction echoes what has been going on across the nation. The activists have reportedly been growing increasingly frustrated with city leaders, many of whom have appeared hesitant to fulfill their requests.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey showed up today at the protests. He was asked if he would commit to abolishing/defunding the police. Incredible to witness crowd hold him directly accountable. Man did a literal walk of shame. pic.twitter.com/v645mfIZHt
— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) June 6, 2020
In an apparent attempt to appease the protesters, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had “Black Lives Matter” painted on a street near the White House. The District of Columbia’s Black Lives Matter chapter described the mural as a “performative distraction from real policy changes.”
“Bowser has consistently been on the wrong side of BLMDC history. This is to appease white liberals while ignoring our demands. Black Lives Matter means defund the police,” the group wrote on Twitter.
Democratic mayors and leaders have also faced criticism from other political figures. Notably, Donald Trump recently described Frey as “weak” for failing to crack down on the protests in his city.
Although apparently popular among activists, calls to defund the police are not particularly popular among voters. According to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll released last week, 65 percent of Americans do not think defunding police departments is a good idea. Republicans, Democrats and Independents all oppose such measures.