MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Protesters have been marching on Saturday demanding for Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey to defund the Minneapolis Police Department and invest in community-lead safety measures — beyond police.

The protesters marched to Mayor Frey’s house and called for him to come out.

All afternoon the message was about not only defunding the police department, but abolishing it.

Chants railed against racist cops and songs were sung about putting money into Black communities. Then Mayor Frey was spotted in the crowd and invited up front.

The protest organizer asked him point blank yes or no — “Will you commit to defunding the police?” She said his re-election bid next year depended on it and the crowd agreed.

When he gave his answer, there was an eruption of boos and chants for him to go home.

WCCO caught Mayor Frey afterwards and here’s what he had to say:

“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.”

The march has stopped several times too for different reasons — once it was to have a dance party, another was for a prayer.

At the beginning, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was also there.

She gave a speech that resonated with the crowd, saying she’s happy there’s consensus on the Minneapolis City Council about the police department being “inherently beyond reform.”

The next step she said is keeping those council members accountable.

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David Schuman

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