'Go home Jacob': Minneapolis mayor booed out of protest for not vowing to abolish police department

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Monday, June 8, 2020
'Go home Jacob': Minneapolis mayor booed out of protest
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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is booed out a Saturday protest after not vowing to abolish the police department.

MINNEAPOLIS -- "Go home Jacob!" dozens of demonstrators chanted at Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, forcing him to leave a Saturday afternoon protest over police brutality and the death of George Floyd.

"Shame! Shame!" the crowd continued as video shows Frey leaving the vicinity.

This reaction came after organizers gave a microphone to the mayor, who told demonstrators that he'd been coming to grips with his "own brokenness" and acknowledged a need for structural reform.

"In terms of how the [police] department operates, the racist system needs to be revamped," he said.

Then, video shows a protest organizer take the microphone and say, "We have a yes or no question for you. Yes or no, will you commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department?"

Before answering, Frey asked the woman, "abolition of it?"

The woman answered, "one in the same."

After some back and forth, Frey answered that he does "not support the full abolition of the police," leading to the crowd's calls for Frey to go home.

Calls to "defund the police" are growing across the nation, but many activists say this means they want funds to be reallocated from police departments to initiatives that support communities of color, like mental health resources and COVID-19 support.

Many advocates say this movement is not promoting the full abolition of police; rather, they want cities to scale back on police department budgets. Over the last few decades, police budgets across the country have risen into the billions -- the New York City Police Department taking the lead with $5.6 billion per year.

It's unclear if Frey knew exactly what the protesters were calling for, or if these organizers actually wanted Frey to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department.

Frey is a first-term mayor who was presiding over a thriving city before the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man, sparked the violence. Now, some wonder whether Frey's approach to the crisis might damage his chances for reelection next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.