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Duluth Fights Police Abuse

by staff |
April 2, 1999
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Duluth, MN - Low income people demonstrated at the City Hall/Civic Center on March 1 to demand an end to police abuse. "We are protesting human and civil rights violations committed by Duluth law enforcement officers," said rally leaders.


The rally was organized by Low Income People Organizing for Power (LIPOP) in response to the police department's targeting youth of color. Among the speakers were parents whose children were victims of police brutality.


"Our kids are getting picked up off the streets, parents aren't notified, there's intimidation against the youth, harassment and verbal abuse," said Micheala Richey, of LIPOP. "What they are doing is targeting the kids. We don't have any police here that are friendly. They intimidate and provoke the kids."


Protesters' demands included: an end to the criminalization of youth, open access to police misconduct records, an elected civilian review panel to monitor police actions, and immediate notification of family when juveniles are arrested or detained.


Derick Parker told of an incident where police boarded a city bus, guns drawn, and took away several youth. Taken to the station, fingerprinted and photographed, they were then released. Their parents were not notified. They were given bus tokens to get home, but the buses weren't running. "They're targeting children of color," states Parker.


Alberta Fairbanks stated that Duluth has a lot of illegal searches, police brutality, and a pattern of male police abusing women. One of the demands of the rally was that, "Male police officers are not allowed to touch/search females.


In late March, LIPOP held a mass meeting and invited community leaders. More than 30 poor people showed up and testified as to what had happened to them and their children. However, community "leaders" were scarce. Only 3 came and the police chief sent several juvenile judges.


LIPOP plans to step up its campaign. Members will be knocking on doors and circulating a petition in Duluth's low income areas, and will turn up the heat on the police department in the months to come.


Duluth, MN - Low income people demonstrated at the City Hall/Civic Center on March 1 to demand an end to police abuse. "We are protesting human and civil rights violations committed by Duluth law enforcement officers," said rally leaders.


The rally was organized by Low Income People Organizing for Power (LIPOP) in response to the police department's targeting youth of color. Among the speakers were parents whose children were victims of police brutality.


"Our kids are getting picked up off the streets, parents aren't notified, there's intimidation against the youth, harassment and verbal abuse," said Micheala Richey, of LIPOP. "What they are doing is targeting the kids. We don't have any police here that are friendly. They intimidate and provoke the kids."


Protesters' demands included: an end to the criminalization of youth, open access to police misconduct records, an elected civilian review panel to monitor police actions, and immediate notification of family when juveniles are arrested or detained.


Derick Parker told of an incident where police boarded a city bus, guns drawn, and took away several youth. Taken to the station, fingerprinted and photographed, they were then released. Their parents were not notified. They were given bus tokens to get home, but the buses weren't running. "They're targeting children of color," states Parker.


Alberta Fairbanks stated that Duluth has a lot of illegal searches, police brutality, and a pattern of male police abusing women. One of the demands of the rally was that, "Male police officers are not allowed to touch/search females.


In late March, LIPOP held a mass meeting and invited community leaders. More than 30 poor people showed up and testified as to what had happened to them and their children. However, community "leaders" were scarce. Only 3 came and the police chief sent several juvenile judges.


LIPOP plans to step up its campaign. Members will be knocking on doors and circulating a petition in Duluth's low income areas, and will turn up the heat on the police department in the months to come.

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