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St. Petersburg celebrates life of officer who fought for racial equality

Retired Officer Freddie Crawford was among a group called the "Courageous 12" that sued the city.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Retired Officer Freddie Crawford is remembered for taking on a city and igniting change.

Family and friends celebrated his life during a service Saturday, June 1. He died at the age of 81 with his children by his side.

Crawford, who was among a group of 12 black officers known as the "Courageous 12," led the charge to file a lawsuit in federal court against the city in May 1965. 

He and others were upset and at a real disadvantage with their work as officers. They could not patrol white neighborhoods and they only could arrest other black people. Plus, there was no real room for advancement as they were not permitted to take the sergeant's exam.

On Aug. 1, 1968, the group emerged victorious against the city. They were able to freely serve.

"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 its Facebook page at the time of his passing.

"Rest in peace, Freddie... Well done, sir."

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