Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey doubled down on his stance against dismantling the city’s police department during an ABC News interview on Monday morning.
Frey’s latest remarks come days after he was roundly booed by protesters for saying that he is “absolutely for a massive shift, a structural shift in how the police department functions” but that he is against abolishing the entire police department.
Shortly after Frey’s remarks aired, the Minneapolis City Council announced its support to dissolve its police department in light of officers using aggressive tactics such as tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse peaceful protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Frey reacted to the city council’s move by echoing his earlier remarks, saying that he supports a “massive, structural and transformational reform” to a system that “has not for generations worked for black and brown people” but that he’s against the notion of dismantling the police department.
“We have failed them, and we need to entirely reshape the system, we need a full-on cultural shift in how our Minneapolis Police Department and departments throughout the country function,” Frey said. “Am I for entirely abolishing the police department? No, I’m not.”
Frey said that in the coming days and weeks he will work with the city council and talking “directly” with them about “deciphering what particularly they mean when they say ending and abolishing.”
The Minneapolis mayor went on to add that elected officials “have been hamstrung for generations” due to the difficulty involved with terminating and disciplining officers.
“Let me be very clear: we’re going after the police union, police union contract, the arbitration provisions that mandate that we have arbitration at the end of the process and often times that reverts the officer right back to where they were to begin with,” Frey said. “We need to be able to have the culture shift, and if we’re going to do that it also means we need to have the ability to discipline officers to begin with.”
Watch Frey’s remarks below:
.@ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Mayor of Minneapolis addresses the Minneapolis City Council's intent to move toward dismantling the city’s police department and police reform. “We need to be able to have the culture shift.”@MayorFrey@GStephanopoulos https://t.co/35mRF07ahv pic.twitter.com/3Bs8xthBjm
— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 8, 2020