Minneapolis Mayor Booed Out of Protest After Saying He's Not in Favor of Abolishing Police Department

The mayor of Minneapolis was booed with profanities and kicked out of a Saturday protest, which culminated with him being asked a yes-or-no question about whether he would support abolishing the city's police department.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was forced to leave a protest outside his home led by the Black Visions Collective, a group seeking to defund U.S. police departments in favor of community-based safety measures.

Chants of "Black Lives Matter," "shame" and "get the f**k out" were aimed at the mayor, after he declined to say he would completely abolish the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of George Floyd's May 25 death.

A protest organizer with a microphone put the mayor on the spot and asked him point-blank if he will vow to abolish the police before he's up for re-election next year.

Mayor Frey @Jacob_Frey says he doesnt want to defund the police. So the crowd led by @BlackVisionsMN tell him to leave. pic.twitter.com/DaJHJXPwRm

— CTUL (@CTUL_TC) June 6, 2020

"We have a yes or no question for you: Will you commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department? We don't want no more police, is that clear?"

"It's important for everyone to hear this because if y'all don't know he's up for re-election next year," the protest organizer said, prompting raucous applause from the crowd. "He's up for re-election next year -- and if he says 'no,' guess what the f**k we gonna do next year."

Wearing a mask amid what police and organizers described on social media as thousands of attendees, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party mayor replied: "I have been coming to grips with my own responsibility, my own failure in this ... I do not support the full abolition of the Police Department."

The crowd immediately became hostile toward Frey despite him having repeatedly expressed support for the protesters, culminating on Friday with the mayor breaking down in tears in front of George Floyd's casket during a memorial service.

Newsweek reached out to Frey's office for additional reactions Sunday morning.

Local news station WCCO-TV interviewed the mayor after the rally who offered this response to the protester's earlier question:

"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'. 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."

On social media, Frey has criticized police union president Lieutenant Bob Kroll for not offering support of the protesters and instead adopting a hard-line stance against the demonstrators.

A few members of the Minneapolis City Council have said they are determined to "dismantle" the MPD.

In contrast to Frey's appearance, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar gave a speech Saturday at an adjacent Minneapolis rally that fired up the crowd. "Stop killing black people," she proclaimed to cheers and applause.

Omar described the city's police department as "inherently beyond reform."

Jacob Frey
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 6: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey leaves a demonstration calling for the Minneapolis Police Department to be defunded on June 6, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mayor Frey declined when he was asked if he would fully defund the police and was then asked to leave the protest. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images/Getty