A dozen or so angry Minneapolis residents hijacked a press conference by Mayor Betsy Hodges, seizing her microphone and demanding her resignation following the fatal shooting of an unarmed Australian woman by a police officer, in what residents say is just the latest example of rampant police brutality in the city.
Mayor Hodges had organized the presser to announce the resignation of Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, who stepped down amid public outrage over last Saturday’s shooting of Justine Damond, 40, by officer Mohamed Noor.
But just as Hodges began introducing new appointee Medaria Arradondo, the simmering tension in the room finally boiled over, with activist John Thompson interrupting Hodges’ remarks and shouting at her to resign.
“We don’t want you as our mayor of Minneapolis anymore… we would like you to move out of the city. Your police department has terrorized us enough,” Thompson yelled to applause from the gathered crowd.
Thompson was wearing a baseball cap bearing the name “Philando” – Philando Castile was the young black man who was shot and killed by St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez in July 2016. Yanez was acquitted of all charges last month. Castile was a friend of Thompson’s.
Hodges tried more than once to resume her remarks, but the protesters ensured her voice was drowned out. She eventually gave up, leaving the room with chants of “Bye Bye Betsy” ringing in her ears.
The protesters then seized the opportunity to hold what they dubbed “the people’s press conference,” commandeering the room and taking turns to speak into the microphone.
WATCH: Full coverage of Justine Damond shooting
“We’ve had enough in the city of Minneapolis. This is our house,” said one woman.
Another protester said he believed Minneapolites wouldn’t be fooled by the appointment of new police chief Arradondo, who is black.
“We understand that chief Arradondo looks like us, but we understand that he’s not one of us, that he works for a police department that has a history of brutalizing us and that we’re not buying this, that this won’t work,” the man said.
“This is just a cosmetic change, and we want institutional change.”
Another woman took to the microphone to question why there was no police body camera footage of the shooting.
“Back in 2015, some of us were pushing for a decent body camera policy,” she said. “The cops didn’t do it, the city gave them the money without making ’em do it, and we ended up with people dying with no damn body camera footage.”
Once the protesters were cleared, Hodges returned to the room to share her reaction to the commotion with the assembled media.
Her message was clear: she won’t be resigning.