Sep 12, 2022 - News

Des Moines paying to defend cops countersued by councilperson

A photo of Des Moines police officers.

Des Moines Police officers Jeffrey George, left, and Peter Wilson. Photos courtesy of Des Moines Police Department

The city of Des Moines will pay $250 an hour to represent two cops being countersued by Councilperson Indira Sheumaker under a proposal that goes before the city council Monday night.

Why it matters: It's taxpayer money spent in a case that was independently launched by the two officers.

  • The city government is not a party to the lawsuit or its counterclaims.

Catch up fast: Sheumaker was among a group of Des Moines Black Liberation Movement members during a July 1, 2020 protest at the Iowa Capitol.

  • Police allege Sheumaker put officer Jeffrey George in a chokehold while others in the group attempted to prevent arrests.
  • Sheumaker pleaded guilty to aggravated misdemeanor assault on a peace officer and received deferred judgment in June 2021. The incident can be cleared from her record after two years of probation.

What's happening: George and officer Peter Wilson recently filed a lawsuit against Sheumaker and five others, alleging their actions "were nothing short of domestic terrorism."

  • Multiple defendants, including Sheumaker, are counter suing the officers.
  • Sheumaker alleges in her suit filed last month that she was pushed by other protestors and fell on George. She claims officers used unnecessary and excessive force against her.

Driving the news: The city is obligated under Iowa law to defend the officers in litigation arising out of their official duties, according to tonight's resolution.

Of note: Nathan Mundy, Sheumaker's attorney, declined to comment when reached by Axios Sunday.


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