george floyd protest
© Reuters / Eric Miller
At least seven police officers in Minneapolis have quit and others are in the process of resigning in the wake of the protests over George Floyd's death that have morphed into a rallying cry to defund or dismantle law enforcement.

Current and former officials with the Minneapolis Police Department told the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday that more than half a dozen police officers are in the process of resigning, citing a lack of support from department and city leaders. However, police stressed to Fox News that only seven have been "separated" from the department since Floyd's death on May 25.

"We don't know how many plan on leaving until they leave. Seven have had their employment agreement separated. That's the bottom line," a police spokesperson told Fox News on Sunday evening.

Officers were particularly upset over Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's decision to abandon the Third Precinct station during the protests, according to the paper. Demonstrators set the building on fire after officers left.

"They don't feel appreciated," Mylan Masson, a retired Minneapolis officer and use-of-force expert, told the Star Tribune. "Everybody hates the police right now. I mean everybody."

The news of the officers quitting came a week after Minneapolis' left-leaning City Council members announced a veto-proof push to disband the city's police department in the wake of Floyd's death.

Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender has claimed she wants a "police-free society."

Frey, who was shouted down by a large gathering of demonstrators near his home last weekend when he said he didn't want to defund the department, still remains against abolishing the city's police force.

Floyd died after officers arrested him on suspicion of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store. Cellphone video from a passerby shows Floyd, a black man, lying face down on the street while a white officer named Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for minutes.

Floyd can be heard complaining that he can't breathe before going limp. His death set off protests, some violent, in Minneapolis that swiftly spread to cities around the U.S. and the globe.

Chauvin was fired and charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers involved in the incident have been fired and charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

In the demonstrations that followed in Minneapolis, protesters also hurled bricks and insults at officers. Numerous officers and protesters have been injured.

In the aftermath of Floyd's death, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights launched a civil rights investigation into the city's police department this month and the FBI is investigating whether police willfully deprived him of his civil rights.

The department has faced decades of allegations of brutality and other discrimination against African-Americans and other minorities.

Deputy Chief Henry Halvorson said in an email to supervisors earlier this month obtained by the Star-Tribune that some officers have simply walked off the job without filing the proper paperwork, creating confusion about who is still working and who isn't.

"We need to have the process completed to ensure that we know who is continuing to work," Halvorson wrote.

Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder downplayed the departures.

"There's nothing that leads us to believe that at this point the numbers are so great that it's going to be problematic," Elder told the paper. "People seek to leave employment for a myriad reasons — the MPD is no exception."

On Saturday, protesters were out again calling for the leader of the Minneapolis police union to step down, Fox 9 reported.

The group argued that Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Lt. Bob Kroll needed to go, especially after he referred to the riots in the city as "a terrorist movement."

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced last week the decision to pull out of contract negotiations with the union with the intent to restructure the contract to provide more transparency to the public.

On Sunday, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who represents part of Minneapolis, told CNN's "State of the Union" that the Minneapolis Police Department is suffering a crisis of credibility and needs to be dismantled.

"You can't really reform a department that is rotten to the root," she said. "What you can do is rebuild. And so this is our opportunity, you know, as a city, to come together, have the conversation of what public safety looks like, who enforces the most dangerous crimes that place in our community. ... What we are saying is, the current infrastructure that exists as policing in our city should not exist anymore."