First Hand Account Brings DMPD Actions on Friday into Question
By: Stephen Toothman
While I will not say the Des Moines Police Department is lying. I will say they are not telling the whole truth. By the time the protesters had turn north up East 3rd, things were calming down. There were still a couple of people throwing things but they were being pushed out to the edges so the police could find them if they were so inclined, which they weren’t. This was approximately 11:00 PM. The Des Moines Police had formed a line at Court and East 3rd and everything was actually calming down and people might have even been slowly dispersing.
But this was all about to change. After about 20 minutes of being chanted at the police decided now after things were calming down that now would be a good time to charge full speed up 3rd towards the protesters. I was the first to meet their assault. I was standing facing them with my hands out and open so they could see I was not a threat. That did not matter to them. I was grabbed and pepper sprayed. Then they slammed me into the pavement with 5-7 officers as far as I could tell on top of me. Three were kneeling on my back and two were pinning my legs. All the while I laid as still as possible and kept repeating “I am not resisting”. Shortly after that I could hear the pop-pop of more tear gas being deployed against the fleeing crowd.
When the police chief says they arrested 12 people what he is failing to mention is that none of them were involved in any violence against the police or against property. And I had a long time to get to know them and hear their stories last night as we spent nearly 8 hours handcuffed together in a holding cell. Mos t of them including my son were trying to disperse. And rather than let that happen the police were picking random people from the crowd. So in the end while I will not say the Des Moines Police Chief is lying I will say he is not telling the whole truth about what happened at least on East 3rd Street where most if not all of the arrests happened.
Both myself and my son are fine. After a long night and even longer morning in the Polk County Jail, we both plead guilty to misdemeanor Disorderly Assembly or some such. We will have to pay a fine but for now we are both safely back home.
Note from PVI: If anyone else on the ground either on Friday or Saturday night has any accounts, pictures, or video of what happened on May 30th and May 31st in Des Moines and would like to get the information out please feel free to send us this information with any instructions for publication here. The more first hand accounts we have, the more we can challenge the official narrative of what happened those nights. We will not require your name be published in a byline! You will be welcome to remain annonymous!