St. Pete police officer who fought for racial equality passes away

Pinellas County

ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A former St.Petersburg police officer who helped lead the charge for black officers to have the same job opportunities as their white colleagues passed away Friday.

Freddie Crawford, 81 was among 12 Black officers, known as the Courageous 12, who fought the City of St. Petersburg for equality in the workplace. Retired Officer Leon Jackson, the last remaining survivor of the group, said it was Crawford’s idea to sue.

The Courageous 12 were not allowed to work in white neighborhoods, could only arrest other Black citizens and were not allowed to take the sergeant’s exam.

Crawford and the group filed the lawsuit and on Aug. 1, 1968, they won. From then on, they were able to freely serve and be considered for promotion.

“Freddie Crawford will always be remembered here at SPPD for leading the way for African Americans and other minorities to serve the community in every rank of law enforcement… not only in St. Pete, also in the Nation,” the department wrote on his Facebook page.

Crawford died with his children by his side.

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