Des Moines, Iowa – State Representative Ras Smith and other Iowa lawmakers joined a coalition of Iowa community leaders today to unveil the More Perfect Union plan, which is aimed at preventing violent conflicts between law enforcement and Iowa residents.
“George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, but it could have easily been a man in Mason City, Dubuque, Davenport, or Council Bluffs. Like many other states, Iowa doesn’t have appropriate legislation to protect our people,” said Rep. Smith. “While no one law can end racism or end the inequality that we face overnight, we must begin to respond to this crisis, to bring justice to George Floyd, and work towards a day where no Iowan has to live in fear of becoming another hashtag.”
“Iowans protesting the death of George Floyd are being crystal clear: the time for listening and thinking is over, the time for action is now. One immediate step the Legislature should implement is rigorous screening for officers with allegations of misconduct in their past from joining a new force,” said State Senator Zach Wahls.
The More Perfect Union Plan has three common sense proposals Iowa lawmakers to act on before adjournment. It’s modeled on successful legislation introduced in other states to improve public safety and includes:
1) Ban police chokeholds: Make it illegal for law enforcement in the state of Iowa to use a chokehold or any other neck restraint unless a person poses an imminent threat of death or bodily injury.
2) Make it illegal to rehire police fired for misconduct: Iowa communities deserve to be protected and served by our nation’s finest. This legislation would make it illegal for Iowa police departments to hire officers who were previously fired or who resigned while being investigated for serious misconduct or excessive force.
3) Allow the Attorney General to investigate police misconduct: To ensure justice for all Iowans involved in police incidents, this legislation empowers both the state Attorney General and County Attorneys to bring charges against law enforcement for police misconduct.
The lawmakers plan to add the proposal as an amendment to another bill before adjournment of the 2020 legislative session. Iowans can sign a petition to support these proposals here at https://tinyurl.com/ybz7ls56.