NAACP members rally behind Natasha Lancour

By KBJR News 1

January 29, 2014 Updated Jan 30, 2014 at 1:01 AM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) -- When the dash-cam video of Superior Police Officer, George Gothner's arrest of Natasha Lancour was shown on the evening news; concerned Northlanders, like Bernice Pepper, say they were disturbed by what they saw.

"Balling his fists up just to hit her like that was just awful. He did not follow procedures, and she should not be charged with any of that," said Pepper, a concerned citizen.

On Wednesday, Pepper and other community members joined the Duluth branch of the NAACP inside the Douglas County Courthouse to show their support for Lancour.

Both Gothner's dash-cam video and an anonymous cell phone video appear to show the officer throwing Lancour's face down on his squad car and punching her in the face with a closed fist. Gothner says his reaction was prompted by her scratching him on the face.

Lancour's supporters call her a victim of police brutality and are calling on District Attorney, Dan Blank, to drop all charges against her.

Stephan Witherspoon, Lancour's personal friend, says the incident has sparked fear into the minds of the Northland's African American community.

"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," said Witherspoon.

"This officer works with other officers who really are good policemen, and do a great job, and are conscientious about what they do; but because of the institutional racism within the department, they're prohibited from ever pointing out that this man should not be among their ranks," said Rogier Gregoir, Chairman of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial.

Lancour's supporters say dropping the charges of resisting arrest and assaulting an officer are not the only actions they would like to see taken by the DA.

"The arrest itself should be purged from her records because holding that arrest record will mitigate her for other employment as a health worker," said Gregoir.

Lancour, who attended the rally, says she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. Lancour and her attorney hope their voices will be considered by the DA before Lancour's preliminary hearing on Friday.

"...Put some pressure on the District Attorney to drop these charges. This is an injustice and the longer it continues the bigger it becomes," said Lancour's Attorney, Richard Gondik.

The NAACP asked for a formation of a police/citizen review board to impartially address the issue. Officer Gothner remains employed, but has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.
kanderson@kbjr.com

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