DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds signed HF 2647, a bill addressing police brutality following the death of George Floyd, on Friday afternoon outside the Iowa State Capitol. The bill passed the Iowa House and Iowa Senate unanimously on Thursday.
“For our entire country, the past couple of weeks have led to some genuine soul searching. The upsetting tragedy, the crime that took George Floyd’s life on a street in Minneapolis, opened the eyes of a nation and sparked a movement,” Reynolds said during brief remarks before signing the bill.
“It also reinforced the message of our African American brothers and sisters that have been telling us for years that injustice exists and is unacceptable in a free and great nation such as this. It’s simply gut-wrenching to hear the feelings of fear that so many people of color experience on a day to day basis and the persistent sense they have that justice is not applied equally or fairly,” she added.
“And it’s also frustrating to see the noble service of a vast majority of Iowa’s law enforcement officers tarnished by the horrific acts of a few. Moms, dads, sons, and daughters, brothers and sisters, put their lives on the line every day to protect us and our communities,” Reynolds stated.
She thanked legislative leadership but also pointed to State Reps. Ako Abdul-Samad, D-Des Moines, and Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, as “two passionate voices for justice, healing, and change.”
Demonstrators were present during the bill signing and chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “let them vote.”
HF 2647 that is now law does four things:
First, it gives the Attorney General the authority to prosecute law enforcement officers (LEO) when police misconduct occurs, regardless of whether a county prosecutor requests assistance or not.
Second, it limits the use of chokeholds by LEOs when making a lawful arrest. It can only be used when a person can not be captured any other way, and either of the following circumstances exists:
- The person an LEO is lawfully arresting “has used or threatened to use deadly force in committing a felony.”
- The LEO “reasonably believes the person would use deadly force against any person unless immediately apprehended.”
Third, the bill prevents LEOs with proven misconduct to move from agency to agency. It also outlines circumstances for when the certification council to revoke LEOs and reserve LEOs certification in the state.
Fourth, HF 2647 requires law enforcement agencies to provide annual training on de-escalation techniques and the prevention of bias.