Jacob Frey, police union, Nancy Pelosi criticized for post-verdict comments

The Minneapolis Mayor is under fire for a tweet in which he said George Floyd's 'life ... bettered our city.'
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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is among those finding themselves the subject of criticism for comments made in the wake of Derek Chauvin's conviction in the murder of George Floyd.

The mayor has already been under pressure since the death of Floyd for his response to the subsequent protests and riots, as from those who oppose his efforts to increase the size of the Minneapolis' Police Department amid calls for otherwise major structural change.

In the wake of Chauvin's guilty on all counts verdict, the mayor tweeted: "George Floyd came to Minneapolis to better his life. But ultimately his life will have bettered our city. The jury joined in a shared conviction that has animated Minneapolis for the last 11 months. They refused to look away and affirmed he should still be here today."

It was the line, "but ultimately his life will have bettered our city" that has jarred, with the nonprofit Black Visions Collective tweeting a short time later: "Black people are not your sacrificial lambs. George didn’t sacrifice his life, he was murdered by your police department."

Frey also held a press conference following the verdict where he was joined by a few council members, among them Alondra Cano, Linea Palmisano, and Andrea Jenkins.

Notably absent were council members who have been calling for the dismantling of Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of Floyd's death, and its replacement by a new public safety department.

Among those is Ward 4 council member Phillipe Cunningham, who was asked on Twitter if he, Ward 5 councilor Jeremiah Ellison, or Council President Lisa Bender were invited. 

"Nope. Just the CMs (council members) he likes and who will stay on message," Cunningham said.

The criticism of Frey's comment is similar to that being directed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for off-the-cuff remarks she made after the verdict was read.

"Thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice...Because of you and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous for justice," she said.

"Speaker Pelosi's comment about George Floyd was totally inappropriate. At a minimum, she should apologize," said Democratic Georgia State Rep. Josh McLaurin, 

"But more than that, I think the gaffe clarifies how much this country would benefit from a Black Speaker of the House."

Minneapolis Police Union's response

The Minneapolis Police Union, which was heavily criticized in the wake of Floyd's death following comments made by its former president Bob Kroll, has also found itself in the spotlight again for its reaction to the conviction of one of its former officers for Floyd's murder.

It started by thanking the jury for "their dedicated work" under an "enormous burden," before adding that "we still want to reach out to the community and still express our deep remorse for their pain."

It added: "We need the political pandering to stop and the race-baiting of elected officials to stop. In addition, we need to stop the divisive comments and we all need to do better to create a Minneapolis we love."

The comment "race-baiting" and "divisive comments" attracted attention particularly in light of the previous comments made by the union's former president, Bob Kroll, who in the wake of Floyd's death referred to him as a "violent criminal," questioning why nobody was talking about that, and who has previously described Black Lives Matter as a "terrorist movement."

During his tenure, Kroll was also regularly pictured in uniform endorsing Republican candidates, to the point Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo instituted a policy banning officers from wearing uniforms while attending political events, with Kroll a short time later launching a series of "Cops for Trump" t-shirts as he appeared on stage with Trump at a rally at Target Center.

It's not been made clear by the union which elected officials it considers are responsible for "race-baiting." Nonetheless the statement has provoked a strong reaction among some on social media, most of which is too inappropriate to share.

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