Minneapolis mayor gets cold shoulder from police as family and friends honor fallen officer

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — There was a rare but welcome sight at one of the city’s police precincts on Tuesday morning: The briefing room was full of law enforcement personnel. But among the light blue shirts of the Minneapolis Police Department there were deputies of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, whose presence prompted jokes about how this was the first time in a very long time the room had seen so many officers.

While a humorous observation, the reason for the crossover event was due to the atrocious killing of MPD Officer Jamal Mitchell, who was ambushed in late May by a career felon while attempting to render aid. Due to staffing shortages, the day Mitchell was killed, he was working a mandatory solo overtime shift.

Different law enforcement agencies were in Minneapolis this week to allow MPD officers to go Maple Grove High School to attend Mitchell’s memorial service.

The morning was cloudy and rainy, almost as if to mark the day of mourning for Mitchell. While the MPD made up of the bulk of the officers, many other law enforcement departments from across the country, as far away as Louisville, Kentucky, came to show their support.

‘Jamal was much more than a police officer.’

In attendance was Mitchell’s fiancee, Tori Myslajek, their children, his mother, and extended family. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was also present for the service, a man many rank-and-file officers of the MPD despise for his role in helping turn public opinion against the police during the BLM riots in 2020.

Frey made it a point to highlight Mitchell deciding to join the city’s police force in the aftermath of 2020.

“It’s notable he chose the profession of policing post-2020. It’s even more notable he affirmatively chose Minneapolis. Of all the places in the world, of all professions of the world, of all the cities of the world, he chose us,” Frey said. He went on to thank the officers in the room for their continued service.

But unlike all the other speakers, who included Chief Brian O’Hara and Mitchell’s friends, not a single person in the packed audience applauded Frey as he left the stage. The gymnasium was silent.

The only social media post in relation to Mitchell’s memorial service to appear on Frey’s official X account was reposting the city’s message that included a link to the livestream of the event.

In contrast, the energy in the room changed when Denise Raper, known as Aunt Deedee, read Psalm 23 and Officer Luke Weatherspoon recounted how his dour mood over having to stay late at work would change when he saw Mitchell. Neighbor Chris Dunker drew laughs when he took out a tube of Colgate toothpaste and said he will remember Mitchell every day, twice a day, when he brushes his teeth, a reference to Mitchell’s beaming smile.

Dunker held back tears as he said he will miss seeing Mitchell playing outside with his children. When Dunker stepped off the stage, Myslajek got up from her chair and embraced him.

All of the speakers praised Mitchell for saving the lives of an elderly couple from a burning building on only his third day as an officer. It was an act, they said, that exemplified the very reason he wanted to join the MPD.

“Jamal was much more than a police officer. He was an outstanding father, strongly engaged with his children,” Officer Weatherspoon said. “Jamal lived for his family. Jamal loved them unconditionally.”

When the service was over, the sun now shining brightly on the day, it was time for Mitchell to be transferred to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport so he could go back to his home state of Connecticut.

The route the convoy took to the airport was lined with members of the community of Maple Grove and beyond waving American flags and holding signs of support, along with veterans and first responders offering a salute.

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