“It is wrong to knowingly increase criminal penalties for an offense that is so disproportionately targeted at Black Iowans,” Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, said during debate.
Adam Mason, state policy director for the liberal advocacy group Citizens for Community Improvement, in a statement called the bill “clearly an attack on protestors with the statewide movement for Black liberation, who protested for months to demand racial justice and true public safety.”
Multiple Republicans countered that anyone concerned with the heightened penalties should not riot, and said the legislation is needed to protect police officers and property owners, including businesses, from the kind of damage that sometimes occurred during racial justice protests last summer.
“We saw a lot of rioting in the last year, and I don’t think it’s OK to go out and damage property, both private or public, and there needs to be consequences,” Sen. Chris Cournoyer, R-LeClaire, said during debate. “If enhancing the penalty for that crime helps deter that crime, then I think that’s appropriate.”
Sen. Kevin Kinney, D-Oxford, a retired law enforcement officer, also raised concern with a provision that would expand the crime of eluding an officer to include drivers who do not pull over for an unmarked officer. Kinney said, for safety reasons, it is common to recommend a driver wait until reaching a more populated and well-lit area before pulling over for an unmarked officer.
Credit: Source link