As Duluth Curfew Ends, Police Chief Says “We Have to Find Equality for Everyone” Going Forward

Less arrests were made during a more peaceful Sunday night, leading Mayor Larson to lift the curfew.

DULUTH, Minn.- The city-wide curfew has been lifted in Duluth since Saturday night’s protest that turned violent in Lincoln Park– and that lift, said Mayor Emily Larson, is largely because people voluntarily complied Sunday night.

“Because last night went so well, because the community stepped up and provided the kinds of support many of us have needed to feel, we do not have a curfew in the City of Duluth tonight,” Larson said at a Press Conference Monday.

“Ultimately we were prepared for the worst when we were hoping for the best and we got the best of Duluth last night,” said Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken.

City and law enforcement officials say Sunday night was much more peaceful. There were seven arrests, down from 11 the previous night of unruly protesters.

“Couldn’t be prouder, couldn’t be prouder,” said the city’s Top Cop, commending his officers for their restraint during one of the city’s biggest protests Saturday and their continued patience into what he calls an unprecedented event once darkness fell.

“It was a very stressful event and they were measured, they were brave, they showed compassion, they showed respect,” Chief Tusken said.

About 150 Duluth Police officers– basically the full force –were deployed Sunday. “They come at a cost, yes,” Mayor Larson said. The Chief said all of the manpower does come at a heavy price tag when Duluth is already cash-strapped due to the effects of Coronavirus on businesses.

But according to Tusken, you can’t put a price on safety.

“The alternative of not having that resource deployed last night and what could have happened whether we have people injured, we have people killed, we have buildings that are damaged or property that are damaged, think that the response was certainly commensurate with the potential risk,” he said.

Meanwhile, evidence does not support a caravan of people coming here from the Twin Cities to escalate things, Mayor Larson said. “It’s so much easier for us to want to place that. That’s anger from somewhere else, that for that agitation and fear and hurt to be our own.”

“But it’s us,” she said. “And so are the beautiful parts and the healing and the hard work of what is to come.”

That hard work, Chief Tusken said, comes with continued police training in implicit bias, and deeper work with minority groups.

“I think what we really need is to have an opportunity for us to get some of our law enforcement leaders, some of our officers in the same room with some of our communities of color who have issues of fear and distrust,” he said, “and tell us what they feel we can do better so that we can come together.”

It’s only through coming together, said Tusken, can real change be instituted going forward. “We can’t be just angry for now and then go back to the old ways, we have to move forward, we have to be better.”

“We have to find equality for everyone, we have to be just a better people. Moving forward we can’t forget this,” the Chief said. “George Floyd shouldn’t have died in vain.”

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