Stronger Penalties Proposed for Iowans Who Riot
Between the aftermath of last summer's outcome in the trial of the police officers accused of killing George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the January 6 protest at the capitol building in Washington, D.C., lawmakers say stricter penalties are needed for those who participate in those activities in Iowa.
A bill is being proposed that lawmakers say is in response specifically to Des Moines protests that occurred in the wake of Floyd's death.
The bill would make rioting that leads to injuries a felony if it can be proven those injuries are a result of the rioting. Republicans are reportedly at the forefront of the legislation, according to KCCI. There are opponents to the bill who say it would not help the relationship between law enforcement and the public, which its supporters say its intended to do. It would hold "protesters accountable for injuring officers, blocking interstates, or damaging buildings."
But a spokesperson for One Iowa said, "many in the communities I serve don’t trust the police and don’t want to cooperate with them. That trust isn’t at all repaired by cracking down on protesters, but we could start chipping away at (distrust) by meaningful legislation like a ban on racial profiling." One Iowa's website says they "work to advance, empower, and improve the lives of LGBTQ Iowans."
The legislation would also change the penalty for blocking roads to disorderly conduct.
Senator Julian Garrett of Des Moines says "I think we do owe it to our law enforcement to do everything we can to protect them (and) make their jobs easier because we're all dependent on them."