Apr 20, 2021 - News

Chauvin verdict renews attention on Iowa police protection bills

A woman raises her hands in the air

People react after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Iowa progressive groups said that while they're heartened a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd, more work needs to be done to ensure this never happens again.

State of play: A jury on Tuesday found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, write Axios Twin Cities' Torey Van Oot and Nick Halter.

Why it matters: This rare conviction of a police officer may come to be seen as a defining moment in America's collective reckoning with issues of race and justice.

  • Video of Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd's neck for more than 9 minutes as Floyd pleaded that he couldn't breathe sparked global protests.
A screenshot of a tweet on a blue background
Iowa Democratic Party Leader Ross Wilburn shares his thoughts on the verdict. Screenshot via Twitter

Between the lines: The verdict brought further attention to proposed Iowa legislation that critics say is retaliatory to the calls for justice that ignited following Floyd’s death.

Among them:

  • The "Back the Blue" bill would make rioting a felony instead of a misdemeanor and increases penalties for blocking roads.
  • Another bill would increase protections for officers against lawsuits.

What they're saying: "Too many Iowa politicians seem intent on making it easier for police violence to occur and less likely that guilty verdicts like the one announced today will happen in our state," Progress Iowa Director Matt Sinovic told Axios.

The other side: Republicans have said the Back the Blue bill "minimizes risks" for police officers who are responding to protests and ensures "they make it back home to their families safely," according to the Des Moines Register.

What’s next: A vigil is being held Thursday "in support of the central Iowa Black community" at Evelyn Davis Park at 6pm.


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