Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey received a frosty reception at a rally this week in the East Phillips neighborhood.
“Why are you here for your show? You’re here for your show and you’re going to take pictures with us, but then you’re going to sit there and you’re going to pollute us,” resident Nicole Perez told the mayor, according to a video published on social media Tuesday.
Mayor Frey showed up to the MMIWR rally today. Little Earth resident and grandma Nicole Perez demanded action against the February 27th Roof Depot warehouse demolition, and the additional pollution that the city has planned for East Phillips, and Frey fled #urbanfarmnottoxicharm pic.twitter.com/DZ7siSe4OS
— East Phillips Urban Farm (@epni_urbanfarm) February 14, 2023
Others eventually joined Perez as the mayor was forced to leave the event, according to the video. The exchange took place during a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives rally, according to Minnesota Public Radio, which said Frey was asked to leave.
Perez is a resident of the Little Earth housing complex, which is next to the abandoned Roof Depot warehouse in Minneapolis. The city plans to demolish the building later this month and build a new public works facility in its place.
According to MinnPost, the building is located on top of an “arsenic plume,” and “its continued presence helps keep the arsenic in the ground.” The location was previously designated a superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency, which removed contaminated soil from the area, Sahan Journal reported.
The Minnesota Department of Health says the area was used to store arsenic-based pesticides from 1938-1963.
Residents fear the demolition will make pollution even worse in their neighborhood and instead would like to build a community-owned “urban farm.”
“You’re not welcome here. Our Indigenous people do not care about you, Mayor Frey,” Perez told the mayor.
The city said in a press release that it will complete environmental remediation of the entire site and has offered a community group “two years of exclusive rights for 3 acres of the total site.”
Frey was also booed out of an event in June 2020 after the death of George Floyd.
Minneapolis Mayor Frey forced to leave a BLM event pic.twitter.com/BiGFMX1UX8
— Alpha News (@AlphaNewsMN) June 7, 2020