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Black Lives Matter activist ousts incumbent in Des Moines City Council race

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A Black Lives Matter activist successfully beat out a Des Moines City Council incumbent following Tuesday’s election.

“We just won our campaign on a platform centered on Defunding the Police for Safety and Justice. It can be done. My goal for this city has always been to work from the bottom up. Not the top down,” activist Indira Sheumaker said in a campaign statement on Tuesday. 

Sheumaker, who was elected to be the Des Moines City Council member for Ward 1, ousted incumbent Bill Gray, who was first elected in 2014, according to The Des Moines Register.

An unofficial result count from the Polk County Auditor’s Office indicated that the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement activist received 46.36 percent of the vote while Gray received 36.32 percent, the news outlet noted.

Among the issues that Sheumaker campaigned on included defunding the police, fighting corporate greed and access to food and housing. 

The success of Sheumaker’s campaign, which raked in over $30,000 in donations since she launched her bid in February, is notable given that she will be the first Black city council member in Des Moines since 1985, according to the Des Moines Register.

But the success of her campaign is also notable given the topic of police reform did not bode as well in a city which witnessed the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white former Minneapolis police officer, reigniting protests over police reform and racial justice all across the country.

A ballot measure that asked citizens in Minneapolis if they wanted to fundamentally change their police department by dissolving the department and changing the city charter to instead have a Department of Public Safety ultimately failed.

Tags Black Lives Matter George Floyd Minneapolis police reform

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