Activists are demanding the resignation of the Des Moines Police Chief after a video surfaced showing three cops dressed in riot gear assaulting a man and appearing to steal his phone before allowing him to walk away.
The video was obtained by Just Voices, an activist group based in Iowa which posted it on social media last week. It was recorded from a security camera and contains no audio.
The time stamp on the videos indicates it was recorded at 2:48 a.m. on May 31, 2020 and shows a lone man walking on a sidewalk with a black object in his right hand and holding it close to his face as if he were speaking on the phone.
The man stops walking when noticing the cops walking towards him from across the street.
He is standing on the sidewalk with his arms slightly spread, showing no resistance, when one of the cops shoves him to the ground and a black object falls to the sidewalk.
The cop then picks up the object but does not return it to the man.
The video shows the cops allowing the man to walk away but he no longer appears to be holding the black object in his hand.
Earlier that evening, demonstrators had gathered to protest against the choking death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. It was one of dozens of protests taking place across the country.
Earlier today, Just Voices organized a press conference with other local activist groups and listed the following demands in response to the video, according to the Des Moises Register.
- A third-party investigation of the Des Moines Police Department by the Polk County Attorney’s Office.
- An independent community review board to investigate discriminatory, racially motivated and abusive tactics.
- The firing of Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert.
“That’s not OK,” Just Voices founder Harvey Harrison told the Register.
“It’s not OK for anybody, including Des Moines police officers in full military uniform, what appears to be militarized garb to come up, knock a person down on the street and apparently pick up their cell phone, which what it appears they did, put it in their pocket and walk away. That’s not OK.”
Earlier this week, 19 Austin police officers were indicted for their abusive actions towards the George Floyd demonstrators during the same time frame of May 2020.