Jacob Frey is re-elected as mayor of Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS — Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat who led Minneapolis when a police officer killed George Floyd and the city was overwhelmed by riots last year, was elected for a second term, the Associated Press estimated Wednesday. Mr Frey also opposed attempts to dismantle or replace the local police force.
Elections in Minneapolis, a highly democratic city, following Mr Floyd’s death in May 2020, were later shaped by a sharp rise in homicides and disparate views on how to address public safety. Voters also rejected on Tuesday An amendment to replace the city’s police department with a new security agency focused on public health.
In the days following Mr Floyd’s death, Minneapolis became the center of a national debate over whether to disregard policing and invest in new options for emergency response. A veto-proof majority of the city council immediately pledged to abolish the police department, although some members later backed down.
From the outset, Mr Frey, a former professional runner and city council member, called for a more incremental approach to reforming law enforcement. He supported efforts to hire mental health workers to respond to emergencies and reduce some low-level police stops, defending the need to maintain a police department.
“We have to stop this pendulum from swinging violently back and forth between vengeance and dismantling the police on the one hand, and the status quo on the other,” Mr Frey said in an interview before the election. “Those are not two options.”
But Minneapolis had previously been rocked by police firing and protests, and many residents said nothing had changed. When Mr Frey won his first term four years ago, he pledged to mend police-community relations that had been worsened by the murders of Jamar Clark, a 2015 shooting of a black man during a fight with officers. was murdered, and Justin Ruszczyk, a white woman who died in 2017, led to an officer’s conviction of manslaughter.
Sheila Nezhad, one of Mr Frey’s challengers, worked as a street medic during the unrest last year and supported the amendment to replace the police force. Ms Nezhad said Mr Frey had failed to get up at this time and listen to the demands of the protesters.
“People took to the streets because their voices were not being heard through the city government through bid-unquoted ‘appropriate’ channels,” Ms Nezad said. “Whatever we do next is to make sure that we have as many voices involved as possible.”
Although more than a dozen candidates ran against him, Mr Frey retained significant support among Minneapolis residents, who were wary of rebuilding or reducing the police force. On the north side of the city, where shootings have been a fact of life, the Rev. Jerry McAfee criticized how Meyer engaged with community groups, but said he still preferred him to the wider circle of challengers. .
“Jacob is still the best man,” said Mr. McAfee. “The others they’re trying to push are basically going to pursue this agenda of defaming the police, and I’m not with that.”
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