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Minneapolis Crowd Drives Mayor Away

Pressed by protesters, Jacob Frey said he doesn't support abolishing the police department
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2020 8:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – Protesters in Minneapolis had one question for Mayor Jacob Frey: Whether he would agree to defund the city's police department. "I do not support the full abolition of the police," Frey said. With that, the crowd erupted in chants of "Shame! Shame!" and "Go home, Jacob, go home!" Frey then walked away, reports the New York Times. Shrinking or eliminating the police force was the focus of Saturday's demonstrations in the city where George Floyd was killed in police custody. At least four City Council members have endorsed dismantling, and there's support for spending reductions in other cities. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he'll cut up to $150 million of planned budget increases for police, and at least two members of the New York City Council back reduced funding.

Frey, who the Times points out ran for office on a platform of repairing the relationship between the department and residents, has said he prefers enacting police reforms. Earlier in the day, Rep. Ilhan Omar told protesters it's too late for that, per the Star Tribune. "The Minneapolis Police Department is rotten to the root and so when we dismantle it, we get rid of that cancer and we allow for something beautiful to rise," the Minnesota Democrat said. Once the department is dismantled, "we’re not simply gonna glue it back together," a council member tweeted last week. "We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response," Jeremiah Ellison said. (Minneapolis has agreed to prohibit chokeholds by police.)

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