A small group of activists blocked the car of Minneapolis Council Member Andrea Jenkins for more than 90 minutes Sunday evening, only allowing her to leave after she agreed to six specific demands.
Footage of the final 20 minutes of the incident, just outside Loring Park where the Taking Back Pride 2021 march had recently concluded, was shared online by community activist D.J. Hooker. In the video, Jenkins, who represents Ward 8, can be seen in the passenger seat of a stopped white Kia, with a few individuals standing directly in front of the car, and more grouped nearby.
Hooker, speaking to the camera, accuses council vice president Jenkins — the first openly transgender Black woman elected to office in the United States — of showing up to the event for a "photo op," and being too supportive of the Minneapolis Police Department.
The council, Hooker says he said, hasn't "passed any more legislation, except the fact that they give more money to the cops."
This resulted in a confrontation prior to the blocking of the vehicle, with Jenkins getting in Hooker's face, yelling at him, then storming off, Hooker alleges. The group then approached the vehicle Jenkins was in and prevented it from leaving. Hooker, at the start of the video, says the group had been out there for about 90 minutes.
"She has been mean, she has been rude," Hooker says, saying the driver had called the cops on them.
Jenkins, clearly agitated, can be heard speaking on the phone, telling someone it "might be three days before I can get out of here," directing some choice words towards the man standing in front of her car.
"She came here so she can say that she came out and she comes out for public events," Hooker says to the camera, "even though she helps support the cops who kill Black people, and Black trans women."
Jenkins was among the council members who turned out to the event at Powderhorn Park in the wake of George Floyd's murder to call for the replacement of Minneapolis Police Department with a new public safety department that would still include police officers, but would direct more funding to social programs and mental health response.
But since then, she has been one of the allies of Mayor Jacob Frey, who opposes the plans to replace MPD, on the council.
The Minneapolis City Council, in its 2020 annual budget, approved a slight cut to the budget of the Minneapolis Police Department, though a revenue shortage resulted in spending reductions to all major departments. About $8 million of MPD's $176 million price tag for the year was directed to the creation of mental health crises response teams and violence prevention programs, and some money set aside for police can only be used with approval from the city council.
The budget includes funding for two new recruiting classes in 2021, and council members allowed the police department to maintain its same number of authorized police officers (up to 888).
The activists blocking Jenkins' vehicle wrote out a list of demands, and asked her to sign and date the sheet in agreement. The demands, read out loud by Hooker, were:
- A Community Police Accountability Commission
- A reopening of all investigations into police killings
- Dropping any and all criminal charges against protesters
- Making all information regarding the law enforcement killing of Winston Smith public and available
- The immediate resignation of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey
- "Leave George Floyd Square alone. PERIOD."
Jenkins pretty quickly says "Yes" to the first four. When the protesters read out the Frey resignation demand, Jenkins first tells the group, "That's your job." The people around the care continue to chide her, and eventually, throwing her hands up in clear frustration, says, "Yes."
The group then asks her to explicitly state Frey should resign.
"I'm really laughing because this is ridiculous," she says, eventually giving in.
Hooker tells her if she agrees to the final demand regarding George Floyd Square, which is at the corner of Jenkins' ward, she can leave.
"Man, you've gotta be f*****g out of your mind," Jenkins says, later adding: "Bring me some Chipotle because I'm sitting here all f*****g night. I am not signing s**t."
About five minutes later she relents and signs the paper — half-heartedly, clearly. The group then moves out of the way and Jenkins leaves the scene in the vehicle.
Vice President Jenkins has not responded to a request for comment.