The mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, is apparently political poison, even among Democrats. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot pulled out of a virtual roundtable discussion on the future of American cities when she discovered that Frey would be sharing the screen with her.
Crain's Chicago canceled an event with Mayor Lori Lightfoot, David Axelrod and others earlier this week. The reason: Lightfoot pulled out to avoid sharing stage with Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey, sources say. https://t.co/C9xu7zEpXX
— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) July 30, 2020
The event was to be hosted by Crain’s Chicago Business, one of the most prestigious business publications in the country. The publisher had no comment and Lightfoot attributed the cancelation to a “scheduling conflict.” According to Crain’s now-deleted Facebook post on the roundtable, Lightfoot, Frey, and political consultant David Axelrod were “to discuss how COVID-19 and recent civil unrest will define the future of our nation’s cities.”
But Frey, who allowed his city to burn without lifting a finger, has become the poster boy for the “future of our nation’s cities” in the new Woke America.
Frey has been roundly criticized since Floyd’s killing spurred national protests and civil unrest. After Floyd’s death, a Minneapolis police station was burned down and members of the City Council vowed to radically transform the police department.
Frey has opposed calls to abolish police but promised changes to the department and created a task force to look into the issue.
Lightfoot has resisted calls to “defund the police,” which hasn’t sat well with the mob. They’re suspicious of her anti-police credentials despite a clear bias against law enforcement throughout her career as the chair of the hated Police Accountability Task Force, and as a prosecutor before that.
But Lightfoot’s problem is that she doesn’t hate police…enough.
For months, Lightfoot has been in a dispute with activists over how a civilian oversight commission of the Police Department would work, with critics wanting more power given to people outside City Hall. She initially promised a new civilian police oversight body within 100 days of taking office.
She also has a combative relationship with the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, which was recently illustrated by a series of insulting text messages she sent to FOP President John Catanzara calling him a “clown.”
Also, Frey is not in good odor with activists in his own city because he refuses to totally, completely, and irrevocably cancel the police department. He’s at odds with those on the city council who want to “reimagine” the city without police.
Frey got some help from the city’s Charter Commission, which just voted to keep one of two changes to the city charter regarding the police, off the ballot in November.
The commission voted 8-6 to block a proposal that would ask voters to remove the requirement to maintain a police force at a level based on the city’s population. That was widely viewed as the simpler of two police proposals up for consideration this year.
The debate about how to remake policing — and how quickly — has divided the city. As they debated for nearly an hour Wednesday evening, it was clear the court-appointed commissioners are just as torn as the community they serve.
Not everyone in Minneapolis is crazy.