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Des Moines hosted its first in-person city council meeting of 2021, but it was cut short due to an insurrection by Des Moines Black Lives Matter. The public attendance for the meeting was capped at 25 participants. After public comment was over, the council attempted to move on to the consent agenda, but it never happened.

Des Moines Black Lives Matter promoted the meeting and said “Let’s make sure they hear us. Wear a mask.”

When the time for public comment was over, the chaos started.

Shouts of “remove the item” started. Control was lost.

Other chants included:

“Let us speak.”

“What do we want? Defund DMPD.”

A banner that read “Defund DMPD. Fire Wingert. Fire Sanders” was unfurled in front of the council desk.

“What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.”

“If we don’t get it? Shut it down.”

Another chant was “you can’t mute us.”

“How do you spell racist? D-M-P-D.”

“Quit your job.”

“Go home racists.”

“Shut it down.”

The whole tirade went on for 6-7 minutes while the council and mayor of Des Moines sat in the room. Eventually, they got up and left.

Des Moines mayor Frank Cownie never attempted to restore order, he simply allowed the insurrectionists to take over the meeting.

The Iowa Standard contacted the city of Des Moines on Tuesday. We asked three questions:

1. Why were the protesters allowed to disrupt the meeting with no consequences?
2. Why was there no law enforcement presence available to maintain order?
3. Did the city not anticipate having issues with its first in-person meeting?
This is what was shared as a response:

“It is frustrating and disappointing to see the actions displayed Monday night in our City Council chamber. Because of the disruptive and alarming behavior exhibited toward Council and City staff, we had no choice but to recess our meeting. It will be conducted Wednesday morning at 7:30 via the Zoom network.  

It is particularly unfortunate that our residents who had business to conduct before Council were unable to do so because of this infringement of their rights.” – Mayor Frank Cownie

The group quickly claimed victory on social media:

“Today, we the people disrupted the city council meeting and created space for community members to talk. It was powerful and won’t be the last time. Help us fill the DSM Bail Fund to keep the people free.”

Author: Jacob Hall