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NAACP wants DA to drop charges against arrested African American
The Duluth-Superior NAACP want charges dropped against an African-American woman accused of assaulting a police officer. Brad Phenow reports.
Standing near the Douglas County District Attorney’s office, about 20 people protested what they call unjust charges against 28 year-old Natasha Lancour. Lancour is charged with battery of a police officer and disorderly conduct in an incident caught on police and cellphone video outside a Superior bar January 5th. Lancour says she’s grateful for their support.
“I’m one of many faces of people’s rights that were violated, and this support system means a lot to me”
She says she feels better knowing the investigation is now in the state’s hands. “To know that it is in someone else’s hands that are above the police department, I’m grateful for it.”
The police dash cam video shows Lancour struggling and being struck by officer George Gothner.
At one point, she told Gothner that “you did it because I was black”. Gothner says she first struck him, leading to the assault charges.
Now, Lancour says she’s taking it all in one day at a time. “I always say God will always have the final say and I’m just grateful, it’s a blessing.”
Duluth NAACP President Claudie Washington says Lancour is not at fault. “We feel that Mrs. Lancour has been more of a victim in this situation. Therefore we call for District Attorney Dan Blank to drop all charges against her.”
Blank wouldn’t comment, saying he didn’t want to try the case in the news media.
Washington says this isn’t the first time he has heard of Officer Gothner. “I’ve gotten complaints in the past about this officer and his conduct with people of color.”
Stephan Witherspoon is a friend of Lancour’s. He wants to keep Gothner off the streets.
“It is my hope that the Superior Police Department holds this Officer accountable for his actions, and practices zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.”
Gothner is on paid leave until the state Department of Justice investigation is complete.
A preliminary hearing is set for Friday. Washington says they will be there to support Lancour.
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