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Vehicle carrying Iowa governor hits a Black Lives Matter protester

The Independent logo The Independent 30/06/2020 Louise Hall
Kim Reynolds holding a microphone © Provided by The Independent

A vehicle carrying the governor of Iowa struck a Black Lives Matter protester in Des Moines as the demonstrator attempted to block the car's path.

The group of protesters had gathered on a driveway leading from a public event in Steamboat Rock and Ackley on Tuesday to prevent the car carrying governor Kim Reynolds from driving away when one of the organisers was hit by the vehicle, The Des Moines Register reported.

Jaylen Cavil, an organiser with Des Moines Black Lives Matter told The Register: “I was standing right in front of the car and I just stood there. I was like, 'I’m going to stand here. Surely the driver of the governor is not going to hit me with her car.

“This is the governor, my governor, who’s supposed to be representing me. I’m sure that her car is not going to intentionally hit me.' I was wrong."

The activist was not injured during the incident but has alleged that the driver of the vehicle hit him intentionally.

The protesters were waiting outside Gov Reynolds' public events to urge her to immediately sign an executive order restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions who have completed their sentences.

The governor has confirmed that she will sign the order sometime before the November election but not immediately.

Iowa is the last state where felons are barred from voting even after serving their sentences unless they successfully apply to the governor for restoration, Reuters reported.

Mr Cavil told The Register that he had hoped the governor would roll down the vehicle's window and engage with protesters.

A spokesperson for the Iowa State Patrol confirmed the incident took place to The Register, but suggested that Mr Cavil "intentionally stepped in front of the moving vehicle".

“The Iowa State Patrol is aware of an incident that occurred near Ackley, Iowa, involving a demonstrator and a vehicle transporting the governor," Sergeant Alex Dinkla, a spokesperson for the Iowa State Patrol, said in a statement.

“Preliminary reports from law enforcement at the scene suggest the demonstrator intentionally stepped in front of the moving vehicle. The demonstrator appeared to suffer no injuries, did not request medical treatment, and continued with his activities. The Iowa State Patrol is investigating the circumstances.”

Gov Reynolds' spokesperson, Pat Garrett, declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper. Sgt Dinkla did not respond to questions from the outlet about who was driving the governor's vehicle.

Two other activists, Matthew Bruce and Grace Merritt, backed up Mr Cavil's account of events to the outlet.

“We just want answers. That’s why we’re following her around. We want her to know that we are not going to stay silent,” Mr Cavil said.


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