It has been nearly two weeks since George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, was killed by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. Ever since this tragedy occurred, individuals have been not only been protesting for justice for Floyd but also for greater reforms in the justice system itself. On Saturday, the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, did address these concerns, but it may not be what protesters want to hear.
According to KSTP News in Minneapolis, Frey addressed a crowd of protesters on Saturday. As the outlet noted, the mayor told the crowd that does not support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department, which wasn't the answer that some citizens wanted to hear. CNN reported that Frey was met with boos after he made the statement, with some even chanting "Go home, Jacob, go home" and "shame." A spokesperson for Frey has since released a statement regarding this issue, telling CNN that the mayor is "unwavering in his commitment to working with Chief (Medaria) Arradondo toward deep structural reforms and uprooting systemic racism. He does not support abolishing the police department."
CNN went on to report that Frey, who, at 38 years old, became the second-youngest mayor in the city's history when he was sworn into office in 2018, was an employment and civil rights attorney before he became the mayor of Minneapolis. In his campaign for the position, one of the issues that Frey reportedly ran on was police reform. Beyond strengthening the city's body-worn camera policy, it's unclear what else Frey has done in the field of police reform.
As previously mentioned, these protest demonstrations were sparked after Chauvin killed Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. Chauvin was later arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. On Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that they would be elevating those charges to second-degree murder and manslaughter. Additionally, the three other officers involved in the incident — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane — have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.
In a press conference that took place shortly after the incident occurred, Mayor Frey said that Floyd's death was "simply awful" and "wrong at every level." He added, "For the better part of the night, I've been trying to find the words to describe what happened, and all I keep coming back to is that he should not have died." Frey then said, "What we saw was horrible, completely and utterly messed up. This man's life matters, he matters. He was someone's son, someone's family member, someone's friend. He was a human being, and his life mattered."