DES MOINES, Iowa – Groups of protesters clashed with police for a second night on Saturday and early on Sunday morning. Police dispersed protestors at the State Capitol Building, as well as, the Court Avenue District. The unrest followed the marches and protests in Des Moines after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn.
Sgt. Paul Parizek, public information officer with the Des Moines Police Department, told Caffeinated Thoughts that the protests during the day by the Des Moines Police Department Building started peacefully, but did not remain that way.
“They started marching, we were doing our thing providing traffic support, but they started breaking windows when they got down to the courthouse. We had to do something about that; we tried getting them dispersed,” he said.
Parizek said a group of about 300 protesters surrounded the Iowa State Patrol tactical unit, and had to deploy gas to get them to move out. He said the group moved up toward the State Capitol Building, throwing rocks, throwing bottles, and lighting off commercial-grade fireworks.
State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, D-Des Moines, said a group of community leaders were downtown since 5:00 pm to try to ease tensions. They asked parents to come to get their child if they believed their child was at the protest.
“We don’t want people to look at this as being hopeless. We want people to know it is not bleak. We are still all in this together. We can still make this work,” he told Caffeinated Thoughts.
The group moved back to the Capitol Avenue District, where they painted graffiti on buildings, broke out restaurant windows, blockaded Court Avenue with garbage cans. Police moved back into the Court Avenue District, dispersing protestors and shut the area down.
Police threatened Caffeinated Thoughts’ reporters with arrest if we did not move away from the area even after identifying ourselves as press and complying with their orders. At one point upon explaining to police officers as we headed toward our car, after identifying ourselves as press and showing our press badges, we were threatened with mace and arrest if they saw us again in the area.