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Protesters chant 'Go home, Jacob' after Minneapolis mayor refuses to commit to defunding police

A chorus of boos and chants of “Go home, Jacob” reverberated around the Minneapolis mayor on Saturday after Jacob FreyJacob FreyMinneapolis moves to open George Floyd Square to traffic George Floyd's family marches ahead of anniversary of murder Minneapolis mayor on Floyd: 'Ultimately his life will have bettered our city' MORE (D) said he did not support demonstrators’ calls to defund the city's police department.

The scene came as thousands of people packed the streets of Minneapolis to protest the police killings of George Floyd and other African Americans and as calls grow for local leaders to defund, downsize or abolish police departments.

On Saturday, a group of demonstrators marched to Frey's house and pushed for him to voice his opinion on the issue after he joined them outside.

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In videos that spread quickly across social media, a protest organizer asked Frey whether he would commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department. The speaker noted that Frey’s reelection could hinge on his response before handing over a microphone. 

After Frey said he did not support the demonstrator’s demands, a speaker promptly snatched the microphone and said, “Get the f--- out of here.”

The crowd then erupted into boos and chants of “Go home, Jacob. Go home.” Frey then walked through a mass of protesters who continued to shout, “Shame” and “Go home.”

Frey, a former civil rights attorney who was elected mayor in 2018, later told CNN affiliate WCCO-TV that he supported implementing “massive structural reform” to revise what he described as a “racist system.”

“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,” he said. “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.

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“I’m not for abolishing the entire police department,” he added. “I will be honest about that.”

Floyd, 46, died in late May after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on the back of his neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd said, “I cannot breathe.”

Chauvin and the three other officers at the scene were fired by the department. Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder. The three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Footage of Floyd’s arrest sparked protests across the nation as well as calls from activists and lawmakers for sweeping reforms to law enforcement agencies. Protests in cities such as Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., have included chants of "Defund the police."

In Minneapolis, some members of the City Council joined the calls to dismantle the police department altogether.

Jeremiah Ellison, a member of the City Council, said in a statement shared on Twitter on Thursday that it was past time to address the systemic problems with the police department.

“We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together,” Ellison said. “We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response. It’s really past due.”

Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarDemocrat says he won't introduce resolution to censure Greene after her apology McCarthy: Pelosi should remove Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee Greene apologizes for comparing vaccine rules to Holocaust MORE (D-Minn.) has also voiced support for disbanding the Minneapolis police, saying on Friday that the department had "proven themselves beyond reform."

Elsewhere, leaders in San Francisco and Los Angeles have announced plans to reduce police budgets and reallocate the funds to other public programs. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said Wednesday that he’d cut as much as $150 million from an expected increase in the Los Angeles Police Department's budget.