May 28, 2020
Minneapolis Police Press Conference Transcript on George Floyd Death Investigation
The Minneapolis Police Department and Mayor Frey held a May 28 press conference on the ongoing investigation into the death of George Floyd. Read the full transcript of the press conference here.
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Mayor Frey: (00:16)
What we’ve seen over the last two days and the emotion ridden conflict over last night is the result of so much built up anger and sadness. Anger and sadness that has been ingrained in our Black community not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years. If you’re feeling that sadness and that anger, it’s not only understandable, it’s right. It’s a reflection of the truth that our Black community has lived. While not from lived experience that sadness must also be understood by our non-Black communities. To ignore it, to toss it out, would be to ignore the values we all claim to have, that are all the more important during a time of crisis. I believe in Minneapolis. I love Minneapolis. And in believing in our city, we must believe that we can be better than we have been.
Mayor Frey: (01:46)
We must confront our shortcomings with both humility as well as hope. We must restore the peace so that we can do this hard work together. I want to know what George’s girlfriend Courteney said about George. He was all about love and all about peace. He did not receive that love and that peace from our officers on the night of May 25th. But we can still honor him by practicing those values during a time of great strife. That is the task ahead of us. And at this time when one crisis is sandwiched against another, this could be the marker. This could be a point in time when several years from now, we can look back to know that we rose to right the wrongs of the past. Not just with words, but with action. We will be working with community. We need to be working with community to sort through those set of action steps. A time when we picked up the rubble. A time where we picked up the rubble, the glass, and found peace in our hearts, not an ignorant peace, but an awakened one where we can truly make change possible.
Mayor Frey: (03:32)
And so in the coming days, we will have an all out effort to restore peace and security in our city. I’ve authorized a unified command structure that allows our Chief Arradondo to utilize resources, personnel from other jurisdictions. We’ve requested assistance from the state and we are thankful to the governor for the support as well as from the state patrol. This work is about protecting community. This work is about protecting infrastructure needed to get through this pandemic together. Our communities need these assets. Especially during a pandemic, our communities need grocery stores for food. We need banks for cash. We need pharmacies for needed medication. Let’s hold these communities dear by doing right by them and by safeguarding them and these community assets that we know they need especially during a pandemic.
Mayor Frey: (04:50)
We need to offer radical love and compassion that we all have in us. I believe in this city and I know that you do too. Next I would like to invite up Council Vice President, Andrea Jenkins, who has been a tremendous leader.
Andrea Jenkins: (05:56)
(Singing). I grew up in a religious family, in a religious home. I grew up in the church with Reverend Jeremiah Wright and he talked about these injustices every Sunday. I want to offer some amazing grace to Bridget Floyd, to Philonise Floyd, to Tera Floyd, Rodney Floyd, to the entire Floyd family. My deepest condolences and sympathies are with you in this traumatic tragic moment of grief. I also stand here to grieve with my community today, with all the Black people all throughout this country, all throughout America, and right here in Minneapolis. We feel as if there was a knee on all of our collective necks, a knee that says, “Black life does not matter,” to the institutions that dictate what happens in this culture and society. I am a part of this system to help to take that knee off of our neck. That is the work that I will be doing. As we stand here grieving yet another loss of Black life, a senseless, tragic loss of Black life.
Andrea Jenkins: (08:20)
I really don’t have many words but I know that something’s got to change. And so I am asking my colleagues, mayor, and anyone else who is concerned about the state of affairs in our community to de declare a state of emergency declaring racism as a public health issue. Until we name this virus, this disease that has infected America for the past 400 years, we will never ever resolve this issue. To those who say, “Bringing up racism is racist in and of itself,” I say to you, if you don’t call cancer what it is, you can never cure that disease. And so in an effort to try and cure this disease, I am stating exactly what everyone else has witnessed, and that is racism.
Andrea Jenkins: (09:53)
Today is a sad day for Minneapolis. It’s a sad day for America. It’s a sad day for the world. I want to remind all of the people that are in the streets protesting, you have every absolute right to be angry, to be upset, to be mad, to express your anger. However, you have no right to perpetrate violence and harm on the very communities that you say that you are standing up for. We need peace and calm in our streets and I am begging you for that calm. We will be working with Black community leaders to develop and create a healing space at the site of the 3rd Precinct so that people can grieve, express their concerns, their anger, in a safe and humane way.
Andrea Jenkins: (11:21)
This is a tragic moment. Like Mayor Frey, I love the city of Minneapolis. I have spent the last 41 years as a resident of this city, and this is my home. And we cannot allow outsiders or our own Minneapolitan residents to destroy our city. So we want to work together to ensure that people have their voices heard in a safe manner. And that’s my commitment. In the words of Leroy Williams who was a firsthand eye witness to Mr. George Floyd’s terrible demise, we got to make a change, bro. Thank you.
Chief Arradondo: (12:44)
Thank you Mayor Frey. Thank you council Vice President Jenkins. I want to first by saying that I’m absolutely sorry for the pain, the devastation and the trauma that Mr. Floyd’s death has left on his family, his loved one, our community here in Minneapolis and certainly across the country and the world. And I know that our community is in trauma and that they are trying to find ways to heal. From the very beginning, I wanted to make sure and ensure, and we will continue to do that, that those who are wanting to express their First Amendment rights and go through this healing process, that they will absolutely have that from me, and that is a guarantee as your chief. But that being said, even prior to Mr. Floyd’s death, we have had a community that has been in trauma for quite some time. And what I can out allow as chief is for others to compound that trauma.
Chief Arradondo: (13:46)
And so if individuals, as it occurred last night, are committing behavior and acts which are criminal, which are looting our businesses as council Vice President Jenkins had mentioned are so vital to the health and vitality of our community. If they’re looting those stores, if they’re robbing people of essential needs and services for themselves, their families, and certainly in this pandemic, their loved ones. If they are setting buildings and structures on fire, which are harming the safety of our elderly and our youth, I cannot allow that as chief. And so, I know that there is currently a deficit of hope in our city. And as I wear this uniform before you, I know that this department has contributed to that deficit of hope, but I will not allow to continue to increase that deficit by retraumatizing those folks in our community. So I am committed to making sure that we restore peace and security in our community.
Chief Arradondo: (14:52)
As Mayor Frey said, we are going to have a unified command system. We are going to make sure again, that all parts of our city, from the Phillips neighborhood, to north Minneapolis, to downtown, that all of our sections of our city have that. We want to continue to make sure that community can come and gather in spaces to again, to heal, to grieve, in honor certainly of Mr. Floyd. But I cannot allow criminal acts to occur and threaten the safety and also again, compound the trauma that already exists. I have been in constant communication with community leaders, members from our faith community, community healers, and as both Mayor Frey and council Vice President Jenkins had mentioned, they want to make sure that we have that space and a safe space for those folks to do that. And so we will continue to do that. But again, I also, again want to just acknowledge my condolences to Mr. Floyd, his family and friends. Thank you.
Mayor Frey: (15:59)
We’ll stand for a few questions. I need to leave in a few minutes though.
Speaker 4: (16:02)
How did things get so out of hand last night? Were you guys prepared for what happened after seven o’clock?
Chief Arradondo: (16:12)
What we experienced, which was a different dynamic shift from the first evening of the demonstrations where there was a different tenor last night, there was a different group of individuals. I want to preface this. The vast majority of people that have come together have been doing so peacefully, but there was a core group of people that had really been focused on causing some destruction. Certainly we saw that with some of the looting and in setting fires. We were certainly prepared in terms of that immediate area to provide for the safety. But if any of you followed, of course, the events last night, the crowds got large and they became more mobile. And so, our number one priority is the preservation of life and so we wanted to make sure that we were looking at that from those who are gathering peacefully in the area, who were also being threatened and risked, our neighboring residents, and also those businesses. And so there was a shift that certainly occurred last night.
Speaker 4: (17:10)
There are allegations that some of the people who started some of the break-ins, looting businesses were folks, outside agitators, and we’ve been hearing people all over social media right now, any leads on that?
Chief Arradondo: (17:23)
We continue to follow that information, that intel. I’m keeping the Mayor briefed on that as we speak. I will just say that it was clear to me and also hearing from our local community leaders, that many of the people that were involved in the criminal conduct last night were not known Minneapolitans to them. And so yes, there were certainly people who were involved in the activities last night that were certainly not recognized as being here from the city.
Speaker 5: (17:50)
Any police officers hurt from yesterday and National Guard coming in or any updates on that? [Inaudible 00:17:55]
Chief Arradondo: (17:56)
So we did have some reports of injuries to some of our police officers. I’m happy to report that no significant injuries. There were some community members who were out there demonstrating, who also suffered some minor injuries, and again, fortunately, no significant injuries that I am aware of. Mayor Frey, in terms of a National Guard request, Mayor Frey is the only person that can make that formal declaration. And as he mentioned, he has had conversations with governor Walz so.
Speaker 6: (18:23)
Do you feel you have control over the city and can ensure people’s safety tonight?
Chief Arradondo: (18:27)
Well, one of the things that I’m very proud of also, being born and raised here in the city, over the course of the last several days, I’ve been talking to many of the friends, family in our broader community who have said they want to make sure that even though we’re experiencing trauma and pain and grief in our city, they don’t want to exacerbate that. So they’re going to be out there. You’re going to start seeing more of our, again, community healers, faith leaders, our elders, and even our youth. And so I think you’ll see a shift in that today. So I’m always hopeful because it’s the same community that has supported me throughout my career.
Speaker 7: (19:10)
Mayor, are you going to ask the governor’s help with the National Guard?
Mayor Frey: (19:19)
Yes. I have made that phone call to the governor and it has been requested.
Speaker 7: (19:25)
And what was the response back from him?
Mayor Frey: (19:26)
The governor and the state have been very helpful.
Speaker 7: (19:32)
Mayor Frey: (19:32)
But I would further direct that. I believe they’ll be in contact shortly.
Speaker 7: (19:38)
What do you say to the businesses that were, the Targets that were looted? [inaudible 00:19:42] It’s tragic all the way around this whole thing. Have you had any contact with any businesses about what happened last night?
Mayor Frey: (19:52)
I have not as of this point this morning. These businesses are our staples in the community. Many of them are longstanding institutions. But more importantly in a time of a pandemic they’re essential for community needs ranging from food to financial services. These are pieces of our community that we’re going to need over the coming weeks and months. When you have one crisis that is sandwiched on top of another, it’s all the more important that we’re able to yes keep community safe and also keep these very critical pieces safe. And I’ve spoken with the chief and that is most certainly part of the plan as we move towards tonight and the coming days.
Speaker 8: (20:43)
Some people have said they thought the wording in the original police statement to very greatly correspond the video and that compounded to the trauma. Why did we see a discrepancy there? How did that occur?
Chief Arradondo: (20:57)
I’ve heard the same thing. I do know that at the time the incident occurred, there was a lot of information that was developing and changing. And so I have heard that and it is never certainly my intention to put out information that would cause some of the pain that others had felt, or even doubt some of the information that was coming out. And I’m committed to that as we move forward, that we will do better to make sure that we’re getting as much factual information out as a timely manner as we can.
Speaker 8: (21:29)
[crosstalk 00:21:29] that initial information came from? Was that from the statement from officers at the scene or was it from some other source of information?
Chief Arradondo: (21:36)
Unfortunately, I don’t have all the details to that, but I’ll get back with you on that.
Speaker 7: (21:41)
What was the strategy last night? Was it to maintain control of the 3rd Precinct and let the looting go? Or was it just that you were understaffed as far as [inaudible 00:21:50]
Chief Arradondo: (21:52)
Two priorities. The first priority always is going to be the preservation of life. At some point in time during the evening, the events really sort of migrated away from the Precinct and also it came down to a matter of resources, I will tell you that when you have fires that take place, Chief Fruetel, and I’ll certainly let him speak, but we cannot allow, and he certainly won’t allow his men and women to go in there and take care of those fires if they’re not protected. And so, that also shifted resources. And we certainly are never expecting these types of gatherings to involve arson, but once that dynamic shifted, it required other resources, policing resources to assist the chief and finances.
Speaker 9: (22:39)
How tough is it for you as a chief to sit there and watch this go down like this? It can be helpless.
Chief Arradondo: (22:43)
It’s very difficult for me. Again, I’m born and raised here in Minneapolis. I’m a Central neighborhood kid. It’s very difficult. And I have an obligation to our 400,000 plus residents, visitors, and workers to provide that sense of trust and safety. And so it is very difficult. But I’m hopeful and I’m optimistic because again, the vast majority of our Minneapolis community was not participating in the criminal conduct that occurred last night and so we have also continue to be in communication with myself, obviously Mayor Frey and council Vice President Jenkins, that you’re going to see more of a footprint from our community out there in support of the peace that we all want.
Speaker 10: (23:32)
So if we have time here, you might just take one more question, [inaudible 00:23:35] people probably have questions about the fire, but we’ve got to get the mayor [inaudible 00:00:23:44].
Mayor Frey: (23:47)
If you have one more question for me, I’m happy to take it.
Speaker 8: (23:47)
What, if anything, can the city do to help these businesses and these homeowners who lost things last night?
Mayor Frey: (23:56)
We are going to be conducting some strategizing sessions over the coming days. Obviously one of the difficulties we have is facing a 165 to $200 million revenue shortfall, and then expenses that are resource towards COVID-19. The monies that we have available are presently somewhat limited, but this sort of calls the question of, how much we do need assistance from the federal and state government now. We needed it before this killing took place. It’s all the more essential after. Thank you. [crosstalk 00:24:49]
Speaker 11: (24:48)
Chief Fruetel can you step to the microphone?
Chief Fruetel: (25:01)
Speaker 11: (25:02)
Do you have a [inaudible 00:25:03] on the number of fires, total fires right now from last night?
Chief Fruetel: (25:08)
I just got some information this morning after we sort of wound down a little bit early this morning. I think we had 16 structure fires last night. We probably had a few additional runs related to fire, but not necessarily structures involved
Speaker 11: (25:28)
And any injuries to the firefighters last night.
Chief Fruetel: (25:31)
No. Fortunately we had no injuries of firefighters and I had no reported injuries to any civilians.
Speaker 8: (25:37)
Can you provide more detail about this new command center or incident center and what services are part of this that might not have been available last night?
Speaker 13: (25:48)
They’re talking about [inaudible 00:25:48].
Chief Fruetel: (25:49)
Unified command structure? Yeah. What will happen is when we establish unified command structure, unified command structure is just bringing-