Another controversial incident involving allegations of racism has come to light in Iowa. Two African-American men were “stopped, searched, detained and humiliated” by Des Moines police officers, they said in a newly filed lawsuit.
A traffic stop last month turned into a terrible ordeal for Des Moines residents Montray Little, 23, and Jared Clinton, 21, a dashcam video released by social justice organization Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement revealed. Officer Kyle Thies and Officer Natalie Heinemann pulled the two men over, searched their vehicle without a warrant and accused them of having weapons and drugs. Little was ordered to get out of the car or risk his freedom.
The video then showed Thies pulling down Little’s pants — a move that was referred to as “dehumanizing” by the Iowa Citizens from Community Development. Little was also handcuffed, and Clinton had to exit the car for a search. The encounter ended with the men driving off after police found no weapons or drugs.
The two men have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Police Department and the city of Des Moines over the incident. Des Moines is predominately white, with a population that is only 11 percent Black. The case is even more controversial as Theis has a history of targeting Black men, the suit alleges, according to CBS affiliate KCCI.
Organizations involved in the filing — the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP, Iowa Citizens for Community Involvement and ACLU of Iowa – want legal remedies to combat racial profiling. They also seek a plan to address “community concerns around Des Moines police misconduct, racial profiling in Iowa and safety for all citizens.”
The incident is being reviewed by Des Moines police, said department spokesperson Paul Parizek.