Kim Reynolds

On the Black Lives Matter Protests in Iowa - June 1, 2020

Kim Reynolds
June 01, 2020
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Well, good afternoon and I want to welcome everybody back to the Iowa State Capitol. Today we're here to stand united as Iowans and as Americans. United in grief and anger over the unsettling and criminal act of violence that robbed George Floyd of his rights and his life on a street in Minneapolis. United in solidarity with those who exercise their right to demand swift justice and to take a stand against injustice through peaceful protest. And united as one community saying in unison that violence is not the…

This past weekend here on this on these steps, and again throughout the East Village in Des Moines, thousands of Iowans showed up to stand united in peaceful protest and that happened in a number of Iowa cities. Hundreds of people peacefully gathered in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Waterloo, Sioux City, Council Bluffs and others. Their message was powerful, their voices were heard, but the lawless acts of a few hijacked that message and endangered the life of other ones. That’s been a pattern now that's occurred over several days and it's a pattern that must end. I appreciate the actions taken by local leaders in Polk County, Scott County and Council Bluffs in declaring a curfew to help deescalate potential violence. Last night, in Scott County, a Davenport police officer was shot and injured while on duty and this violence is unacceptable. Our thoughts and prayers are with this officer, his family and the people of Davenport as they experienced these horrible tragedies. I've spoken with Davenport Mayor, Mike Matson, and offered the full support of the state throughout the weekend. I've also been in contact with Adjutant General Corell of the Iowa National Guard and Public Safety Commissioner Bayens to discuss the National Guard’s role in assisting state and local law enforcement. Under my order, they stand ready to assist and support when and if that time occurs. I've also had conversation with a number of mayors from across the state to discuss their efforts to facilitate peaceful protests in their communities and ask if there is any needs that the state can meet.

I've been so impressed with the coordination between local, county and state law enforcement and officials in responding to these kinds of public safety issues. Here in Des Moines, I want to take this opportunity to thank a number of law enforcement agencies, the Des Moines Police Department, Polk County Sheriff's Office and the Iowa State Patrol for their swift response, purposeful restraint and commitment to cooperation with the communities they serve. These are not the things they do just in responding to the current situation, they do it as a matter of course. I want to recognize Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert for his focus on community policing and building strong relationships with the communities his department protects. We also had so many leaders from Iowa’s African-American community, Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, Bishop Ron Woods and Izaah Knox from Urban Dreams. This is just a few but they were on the front lines of the protests every day throughout the night to help deescalate and convince our young people that violence is not the answer to their outrage and anger. There are also amazing community leaders like Betty Andrews, the president of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP, who have been working closely with us as part of the governor's focused committee to address long-standing issues and inequities in our criminal justice system.

As the governor, I want all Iowans to know that I hear you, I hear your frustration and I am committed to listening and having a respectful dialogue about what we need to address the injustices that are felt by so many. And that might mean having some very uncomfortable and eye-opening discussions, but they’re discussions that we must have if we’re going to bring about positive and impactful change. One of the most lasting images of this weekend happened last night in front of the Des Moines Police Department. As the curfew for Polk County approached, law enforcement officers knelt alongside protesters - their neighbors - in a show of support and understanding. it was made possible because of a police chief and his team and community leaders who have built bridges and could talk to each other. That moment was a powerful and momentous display of understanding and I’m confident that as Iowans we can repeat it and move forward together as one united community and state. So, it's now my pleasure to introduce Frank Cownie, the mayor of Des Moines, and I am so grateful for his leadership during this very trying time for the City of Des Moines. Mayor?

[Individuals speak]

Reynolds, K.K. [Iowa PBS]. (2020, June 1). Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Press Conference | June 1, 2020, 2 p.m. []. Retrieved on June 3, 2020 from