Matthew Bruce spoke to supporters after being released from jail on Wednesday. Bruce, the organizer for Des Moines Black Lives Matter, turned himself in earlier in the day as he was charged with first degree criminal mischief for actions at a protest on Saturday at Hy-Vee.
Bruce said he wanted to know if DMPD would be charging a man who slowly drove through protesters after stopping and talking with them at that Hy-Vee protest. BLM already was successful in getting the man fired from his job, and now the group has labeled him an “attempted murderer.”
“Why haven’t they done the necessary investigation to find out the other white man in a white truck that also tried to physically harm and maybe kill protesters,” Bruce said.
One of the supporters said “they’re all in it together.”
“They are using their power to try to suppress first amendment activity and trying to suppress the ability for people to be represented by their government,” Bruce said. “It’s very simple.”
He then added that he learned there is “absolutely no concern” for COVID in DMPD or in the jail.
Bruce said if he doesn’t beat the charges, he won’t be able to vote.
“For voicing my opinion, for voicing my First Amendment, they slapped a felony on me,” he said.
Then they said there is no evidence. The charge, they said, is completely unsubstantiated and completely without evidence.
That, despite this photo taken by the Des Moines Register:
And, of course, this post by Black Lives Matter:
“Here’s what it is,” Bruce said. “They’re trying to target me. They’re trying to scare me. They think that spending a couple hours in that room while having my hands behind my back, or whatever else it is, is going to make me think twice about coming out here and doing this. And make us think twice about y’all doing what y’all doing. But at the end of the day, we’re not going to stop, we can’t be stopped because the police have to be defunded, prisons have to be abolished.”
The sound cut out shortly after that for quite some time. It picked back up again at about the 14:20 mark of the video.
Bruce spoke again at the 18-minute mark.
“All of this is proof that we must defund polish and abolish the prison system,” he said. “We’ve got to. There is no reason there should be an institution like this in every county of every state across the United States of America. That shit is literally a maze of reinforced doors, locked doors, bad food, unsafe and unsanitary conditions, there’s no paint, there’s no art, there’s nothing uplifting – it’s literally meant to break you as a human being. It’s literally meant to force you into servitude and to complacency with your situation.”
The group finished with some chants, including a “you about to lose your job” chant aimed at police. That takes place at the 21:15 mark of the video.