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Press Statement May 1, 2024

NAACP Calls for DOJ Investigation into Death of Frank Tyson, Canton County Police Department

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 1, 2024

Contact: Alicia Mercedes, amercedes@naacpnet.org 

WASHINGTON  — Today, the NAACP sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting an immediate investigation into the death of Frank Tyson, a 53-year-old Black man who died at the hands of Canton, Ohio police last month. Tyson's death came shortly following a recorded incident of excessive police force, leading to restricted breathing, similar to the deaths of Eric Garner and George Floyd.

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson shared the following sentiment:

"Frank Tyson should be alive today. Nearly 4 years after the tragic death of George Floyd, we are forced to bear witness to yet another unarmed Black man cry out for air at the hands of law enforcement. This is unconscionable. While we may not know how many Black people will be killed before Congress picks up the pen and makes police reform a reality, one thing remains clear - we demand answers and accountability. The NAACP urges the Department of Justice to ensure that the course of justice remains uncorrupted. Enough is enough. Black families deserve better."

Excerpts from the letter include:

  • "…Mr. Tyson repeatedly yelled, "I can't breathe."
  • "The NAACP is deeply troubled by this horrific tragedy."
  • "Similar to the deaths of Eric Garner and George Floyd, the police ignored Mr. Tyson's pleas."
  • "The NAACP respectfully requests that the Department of Justice conduct a thorough investigation immediately."
  • "We seek justice and accountability."

"The people of Stark County demand immediate action and answers,"said Hector C. McDaniel, President of the Stark County Branch of the NAACP. "Through tragedy, we remain committed to shining a light on the injustice that has taken place against a Black man in America from those sworn to protect and serve. We are proud to work hand-in-hand with our state conference and the national office in securing justice for the family of Mr. Frank Tyson."

The NAACP seeks swift justice for the abhorrent crimes committed by the Canton Police Department. Countless Black lives have been killed at the hands of law enforcement and many others will follow if police are not held accountable. We also call on Congress to take action on meaningful police reform legislation to save lives.

The full letter can be accessed here. On Wednesday, May 1st, the Stark County Branch of the NAACP will host a social justice town hall to continue the conversation with local elected officials and law enforcement. 

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About NAACP

The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund - also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.

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