Our 2021 Faith in Action recipient, Just Voices Iowa, is launching a research project to study, in-depth, the summer of 2020 protests in Des Moines. After George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, protests sprung up all around the world, in the United States, in Iowa, and in Des Moines. His death shined a new spotlight on racism and excessive force in policing and people everywhere rose up in protest.
Des Moines had over 40 protests from late May through September 2020 and Just Voices has found that over 200 people were arrested. The vast majority of arrests were unjustified since most residents were exercising their constitutional right to protest and were peaceful.
Just Voices Iowa has two main goals with this project:
1. To report on the police response to the 2020 protests in Des Moines. The report will be shared publicly, through various mediums including the Just Voices Iowa website to raise awareness, identify lessons, and create a more just Iowa.
2. To hold those accountable who were responsible for inappropriate conduct during and following the protests. This can be done in a number of ways, including the filing of complaints and lawsuits against individuals and institutions who acted inappropriately/illegally.
The project seeks to answer questions like:
Ø Was DMPD response proportionate to the incidents?
Ø Was DMPD response consistent with best police practices?
Ø What was the outcome of the arrests?
Ø Who is accountable for wrongful conduct, from all sides?
On Saturday, December 4th, Just Voices Iowa kicked off the project by training a small crew of volunteers at Franklin Ave. Library (and on ZOOM) on what the research would entail. Without the help of their volunteers, this project would probably take more than a year to conduct due to the volume of research and interviews needed. And more volunteers are needed. If you have 2 – 4 hours per weeks to spare, feel free to reach out to Just Voices Iowa at firstname.lastname@example.org . Training will be provided.