MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A week into crisis, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is discussing the decisions that were made leading up to the nights of rioting and violence in the city, if there were mistakes, and what obstacles the city faces moving forward.
Frey has gotten credit for a swift response to the death of George Floyd, including firing the four officers involved in Floyd’s fatal arrest the next day.
But, he has also been criticized for not having a larger force on the streets.
Last Wednesday night, as the Target near the 3rd Precinct was being looted, Frey got an urgent call from Police Chief Madaria Arradondo.
“He said Mayor if this continues I do not think there is any way that our police department is going to handle this crisis on our own. Mayor, I am asking you to ask for the National Guard,” Frey said.
Frey says he immediately asked for the National Guard, but they weren’t out in full force until Saturday. This weekend, Gov. Tim Walz appeared to blame Frey.
“During a crisis is no time to point fingers and I refuse to do that,” Frey said.
Now, Frey defends abandoning the 3rd Precinct.
“If we decided to continue to hold the 3rd Precinct there very likely would have been hand-to-hand combat, likely serious injury and maybe death, and in the decision between a building and life-or-death we decided to evacuate,” Frey said.
Frey confirmed officers were pulled out of the precinct earlier in the day with the hope that would diffuse protests and free up officers for other hotspots.
“Going forward, we have a lot of work to do,” Frey said. “Before anything we need to do everything possible in getting justice for George Floyd.”
Frey says he will attend Thursday’s memorial service for George Floyd in Minneapolis.