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Duluth NAACP members speak out after African American man dies in Minneapolis police custody

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Credit: Offices of Ben Crump Law

DULUTH, MN-- Two leaders of Duluth's African American community have voiced their thoughts after a black man died while in Minneapolis police custody.

"It's been a nightmare," said Stephan Witherspoon, President of Duluth's NAACP chapter.

George Floyd died on Monday while in police custody as they were trying to restrain him.

Now, Witherspoon wants answers as to why this happened to Floyd, "I'm fed up, and I'm tired and you know I want justice and accountability," he stated.

For Duluth Human Rights officer Carl Crawford, the past few days have been emotional.

He knows what happened to Floyd could have happened to him or his son.

"As an African American male in my role as a Human Rights Officer there's uncertainty when I walk outside of my house," said Crawford. "Uncertainty on how I'm going to be treated if I'm going to make it back home."

Both men say black people across the country have brutal encounters with police far too often.

Witherspoon said, "Racism is a reoccurring pandemic in America."

Crawford said he applauds the Minneapolis Police Department for taking action and firing the officers involved.

Meanwhile, Witherspoon said more needs to be done, "Being fired isn't good enough. How are they going to be held accountable for what they did?"

Crawford and Witherspoon both say the racial inequality African Americans face is an issue that will only be addressed when communities all come together.

"Really a herculean effort of the community, of folks in the office. In this case, the police department, of everyone involved," said Crawford. "To really start understanding their bias and prejudice and how it influence how policy is set, the way we do our work."

"We need allies of the African American heritage community to stand up and speak out. In your home, on the street, in the places where you go and where you congregate," said Witherspoon.

Tweet by AG Keith Ellison

State leaders talked about the investigation into George Floyd's death Wednesday, including Attorney General Keith Ellison.

He said he's ensuring the process is thorough so any charges they do file stand up in court.

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Emma Quinn

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