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Group wanting answers at ‘Justice for Estavon’ rally in Virginia

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Justice for Estavon Protest 2
Justice for Estavon Protest
Justice for Estavon Protest 3

VIRGINIA, MN -- In early December, Estavon Dominic Elioff, 19, died in an officer-involved shooting in Mountain Iron, Minnesota.

On the bridge of Highway 169 in Virginia, Voices for Ethnic and Multicultural Awareness (VEMA) held a rally in Elioff's honor Saturday morning.

VEMA's Co-founder Nathaniel Coward helped organize the 'Justice for Estavon' event.

"I can't believe people are quiet about it," Coward said. "I don't understand why there's no outrage about it, but we're here. His family is here, his friends are here, and there are people who care. We're here to support him."

Authorities say two St. Louis County Sheriff's deputies shot and killed Elioff, who fled from officers investigating a shoplifting report in Mountain Iron on December 5.

He was discovered later in a wooded area where there was a confrontation, and deputies deployed Tasers, then two of them shot and killed Elioff.

Just miles from where Elioff died, around 15 people gathered Saturday morning to show support and call for racial justice.

"I don't think people see how it affects the people of color in the community and people that care," Coward said. "We're all in this together, so I don't know why we're not all out here fighting it together."

Virginia resident Marlise Riffel came to show her support and help spread a message in the community.

"I think it's really important, especially for white folks to say, 'Hey, this is our community. We really care about racial justice here,'" Riffel said. "It's their voices we need to augment. I'm just here to support."

Coward is standing in solidarity with the family, and he is speaking up for people who can't.

"We see this all the time," Coward said. "A dead person can't tell their side of the story, can't say what happened. You kind of know what's going to happen. That's just not right. It shouldn't happen."

The sheriff’s deputies who shot and killed Elioff were placed on standard administrative leave.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is still investigating.

Click here for more information about VEMA and their work.

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Kendall Jarboe

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