A vehicle carrying Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Tuesday hit a Des Moines Black Lives Matter protester who officials say intentionally stepped in front of the vehicle's path.
Iowa State Patrol spokesperson Sgt. Alex Dinkla told The Hill that the protester, who was not injured, “intentionally stepped in front of the slowly moving vehicle” in Ackley, Iowa, which was operated by a member of the patrol. He added that the state patrol investigated the incident.
“As the vehicle began to turn away from the protestor and onto the roadway, the demonstrator intentionally stepped in front of the slowly moving vehicle,” Dinkla said in a statement. “The demonstrator had little to no physical reaction to any contact he created and the vehicle then entered the roadway.”
Dinkla said the demonstrator “made no request for medical attention, and immediately began shouting obscenities at the responding personnel” before blocking members of the Iowa State Patrol from leaving the area.
About two dozen Des Moines Black Lives Matter demonstrators protested outside of the governor’s events in Steamboat Rock and Ackley in an effort to get her to immediately sign an executive order giving voting rights back to those convicted of felonies who have served their sentences. Reynolds has said she will sign the order in late summer or early fall, but activists want it signed before July 4, the Des Moines Register reported.
Jaylen Cavil, an organizer with Des Moines Black Lives Matter who was hit, told the Des Moines Register that he was hoping Reynolds would stop to talk to them. He said he was not injured, but he believes the driver “intentionally hit me.”
"The SUV that Gov. Reynolds was driving in drove right up to me. I was standing right in front of the car and I just stood there. I was like, 'I’m going to stand here. Surely the driver of the governor is not going to hit me with her car. This is the governor, my governor, who’s supposed to be representing me. I’m sure that her car is not going to intentionally hit me.' I was wrong," he said.
Cavil said the vehicle drove away after the incident, and an Iowa State Patrol officer yelled at him and called him an idiot. Two other activists, Matthew Bruce and Grace Merritt, confirmed Cavil’s account to the newspaper.
Cavil is a part of the group of Black Lives Matter activists who met twice with Reynolds in her office to request she sign the executive order, the Register noted.
"When the governor would let her car hit a protestor rather than engage with us, it’s clear that she does not care about Iowans, especially Black Iowans," a spokesperson for Des Moines Black Lives Matter told The Hill in a statement.
--This report was updated at 12:12 p.m.