Minneapolis, Minnesota was the home to several nights of riots, arson, and property destruction after the death of George Floyd in police custody this summer. Black Lives Matter-fueled riots led to at least half a billion dollars in property damages, much of which destroyed small businesses essential to the city’s economy.
The city’s mayor, Jacob Frey, chose to meet with protesters in public about whether to continue funding the city’s police department amid protesters’ demands to defund it and ultimately abolish it. The Democratic mayor said that he did not support the protesters’ demands, which was met with a chorus of boos and chants of “Go home, Jacob, go home” and “shame.”
A spokesperson for the mayor reiterated his “unwavering” commitment to work towards “deep structural reforms and uprooting systemic racism. He does not support abolishing the police department.”
Despite Frey’s actions to enact police reforms, such as a temporary restraining order for police officers to ban the use of chokeholds, it was not enough for the “Abolish the Police” radicals in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis City Council kowtowed to the mob’s demands and moved $1.1 million from the police department to the city’s health department to fund “violence interrupters” that would mediate conflicts instead of police officers. Essentially, the city council’s move partially defunded the city’s police department and as Minnesota Public Radio reported, it is “less than a percentage point of the police department’s budget.”
Frey is the second youngest mayor in Minneapolis’s history at age thirty-eight, having won election in 2018.
George Floyd, a black male, died in police custody after a police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck. Floyd’s death spurred nights of riots, looting, and arson in Minneapolis, as well as other mass demonstrations across the country.