Duluth NAACP Speaks Out After Council Riot Gear Vote

The Duluth City Council voted 6–2 to allow the purchase of riot gear for the police department on Monday night

DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth City Council voted 6–2 to allow the purchase of riot gear for the police department, and now some organizations are speaking out.

Some members of the Duluth Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) say they are frustrated with the process, and what they see as the city’s lack of including community input.

“When we talk about introducing equipment that militarizes the police and creates potentially an enemy combatant dynamic between police and the citizens; I mean, we should be concerned,” said Duluth NAACP Criminal Justice Committee Chair Erin Kreeger.

Members have issue with the three public forum meetings that were held rather quickly and how they believe there wasn’t enough time to review the more than 800 comments from the forums.

“There is no policy currently on the books about how the police can use or deploy riot gear,” said Kreeger. “So, when you have citizens significantly concerned about how the police are going to potentially use this gear, what protections do they have when we have no clear policy in place?”

Representatives from the Duluth NAACP hope the City of Duluth will engage with the Citizen Review Board in an open and transparent setting to develop a standard policy.

Mayor Emily Larson wrote a letter to the Citizen Review Board in hopes for collaboration with local organizations to create a policy on the protective gear.

We reached out to the Duluth Police Department and did not get a response.

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