Council Member Andrea Jenkins says protesters held her 'hostage' at Minneapolis Pride event

The protesters did not let Andrea Jenkins leave until she signed a list of six demands.

The Minneapolis council member who spent 90 minutes in her car as activists blocked her vehicle while issuing a list of demands has now spoken publicly about the ordeal.

Andrea Jenkins, who serves as council vice president and represents Ward 8, published a Facebook post late Tuesday in which she characterized her experience during the Sunday incident outside Loring Park as being "held hostage."

"Black pain, Black trauma, Black anger is real and justified," she wrote. "What is not justified is the inhumane treatment of other humans because they hold elective office."

Jenkins was attempting to leave a Taking Back Pride 2021 event in a car. In a video posted by community activist D.J. Hooker, people can be seen standing in front of the car to prevent it from moving. When the 23-minute video begins, Hooker says the group had been there for about 90 minutes at that point. 

He accuses Jenkins, who is the first openly transgender Black woman elected to public office in the U.S., of coming to the event for a "photo op" and supporting “the cops who kill Black people and Black trans women.”

The activists allowed Jenkins and the driver of the car to leave only after the fed-up Jenkins agreed to sign a list of six demands provided by the group.

Jenkins, in her Facebook posts, wrote she was "verbally attacked, berated and held 'hostage' against my will by a large group of angry protesters," noting she has attended that Pride event for more than two decades.

"I have always believed in open dialogue where people can talk and be respectful of their differences. ... I refused however to be bullied and held hostage to somehow accomplish that," her post continues. "Every citizen of this City has a right to bring forward their concerns, but no citizen has the right to detain and coerce anyone to do anything, that includes elected officials."

One of the group's demands centered on the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, where George Floyd was killed. 

"Leave George Floyd Square alone. PERIOD," the group's list read. Jenkins, whose ward touches that intersection, addressed this directly in her post.

“I am a public servant, I represent 31,000 people that live in Ward 8, in South Minneapolis. A beautiful community that was forever changed by the inhumane murder of George Floyd at the intersection of 38th and Chicago," she wrote, adding later in the post: "Additionally, I believe that what has become known as George Floyd Square already is and will continue to be a sacred space and I intend to do all in (my) power to create the type of social justice memorial that reflects that struggle. However, it is time to stop holding of the Black owned businesses, the neighbors and residents of that area hostage."

The activists Sunday also implored Jenkins to publicly demand the immediate resignation of Mayo Jacob Frey, a demand she eventually relented to as the stalemate dragged on. In Tuesday's post, Jenkins repeated a refrain she initially said while in the car, that "the residents of this City will determine in November who will lead this City, not me or any other councilmember."

Frey also came to Jenkins’ defense on Twitter. Jenkins has allied herself with Frey on some issues of policing and public safety, with Frey a target for criticism from activists who want the replacement of Minneapolis Police Department, which he opposes.

Jenkins acted as the swing vote as she joined six other council members to vote in favor of an amendment during the 2020 budget process that would allow the Minneapolis Police Department to maintain authorized staffing levels of 888 officers, a measure supported by Frey, according to MinnPost

She has spoken publicly about her desire to see public safety in Minneapolis overhauled, with more emphasis on and options for responding to mental health crises. But Jenkins has said a "community-controlled police force" to respond to investigate crimes remains a piece of the puzzle.

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