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A former staffer for the Minnesota board that licenses police officers is suing the agency, alleging she was the victim of racial discrimination.

Starr Suggs, who had spent 28 years with the Minnesota Peace Officers Standards and Training Board as an administrative specialist, told KSTP-TV the last straw came in February as a crowd gathered outside to protest the police killing of Amir Locke.

While the protest remained peaceful, Suggs, the only Black employee among a staff of about a dozen, said she was disturbed by the reaction of her white colleagues and supervisors.

“They were running around, panicking, ‘Oh my God, they’re coming!’” Suggs said. “They mentioned ‘Get your brass knuckles.’ One coworker was like, ‘Yeah, I have my knife.’ They were like, ‘Hey Starr, do you have our back?’”

Suggs resigned a month later and her experience on that day is now one of several incidents detailed in a racial discrimination lawsuit she filed against the POST Board last month.

The allegations came just weeks after the board, which regulates law enforcement officers across Minnesota, approved a plan to root out hate speech and white supremacy in policing.

The executive director of the POST Board, Erik Misselt, declined to comment, citing the litigation.

Late last year, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights confirmed several of details outlined in Suggs’ lawsuit but stopped short of calling it racial discrimination because board leaders “regularly treated all staff poorly,” KSTP reported. But department did find “probable cause” that leaders retaliated against her for complaining about discrimination.

Timeline: George Floyd's Death, Protests, Riots, Arrests, and Chauvin Trial

It was late afternoon on Memorial Day, 2020 and many Minnesotans had observed the normally active weekend hunkered down because of the growing pandemic.

George Floyd drove to a grocery store in Minneapolis and bought some cigarettes. He was accused by employees of making the purchase with a counterfeit $20 bill and police were called. Floyd was still there in his vehicle when two officers arrived. About 10 minutes later, Chauvin and another officer showed up and the situation began to escalate. Chauvin began kneeling on Floyd's neck as he was facedown on the street. Despite repeated pleas from Floyd and a growing crowd of bystanders to remove his knee, Chauvin continued as if frozen in position with no facial expression. 

After more than 8 minutes, Chauvin finally stood up and Floyd had become unresponsive. An ambulance was called and a short while later, it was reported Floyd was dead.

A video of the incident slowly spread on social media around the state, the country and the world. Viewers literally watched a man slowly die, repeating "I can't breathe." 

The now historic response began the following day.

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