The ISD Editorial Board criticizes the recent "Back the Blue" bill passed by the Iowa Legislature, which increases penalties for protestors and ignores bipartisan support for a ban on racial profiling. 

As the country deals with more controversial police shootings and calls for reform, the Iowa Legislature has made their stance clear: support the police, crack down on protestors and ignore a chance to reinforce a ban on racial profiling. 

The “Back the Blue” bill contains multiple provisions that benefit law enforcement officers such as improved sick leave insurance and workers' compensation. It also strengthens qualified immunity for law enforcement, a protection that has been under fire across the country. Qualified immunity makes it harder for citizens to file civil cases against public officials. 

The other area of emphasis in the bill is punishing disruptive protests. A charge of rioting would be a felony rather than a misdemeanor if the bill is passed. Shining lasers at police, damaging property and blocking roadways would face increased penalties. However, a person that hits a protestor in the road would receive some qualified immunity. 

What the bill notably lacks is a reinforcement of a racial profiling ban suggested by Gov. Kim Reynolds herself. The Iowa Democratic Black Caucus has criticized Reynolds for breaking this commitment and is encouraging her to veto the bill. 

The bill has already passed the Iowa House and has a strong chance of making it through the Senate to the governor's desk. 

Legislators had a chance to create a bipartisan bill that secured both better opportunities for law enforcement and protections for the minority communities of Iowa. Instead, they chose to make it a punishment for those who protested this last summer while intentionally leaving out a provision that protected civil rights. 

The issue is not with the improved employment benefits of law enforcement. Better benefits generally attract better, more qualified workers — something the industry is desperately lacking in a country filled with undertrained and trigger-happy officers.

The issue is with the increased penalties, the lowered accountability for law enforcement and leaving the racial profiling provision in the dust. Further punishing the protestors is a ridiculous response to civil unrest. Why slap the angered communities across the face instead of working to fix the issues that caused unrest? What is the logic in fighting the reaction rather than the cause? An increased fine or jail sentence may temporarily suppress the angered, but it will not keep a population facing injustice at bay.

People put in positions of increased power require increased accountability to maintain the trust of those they have authority over and ensure their conduct stays proper, yet the legislature is trying to lower the accountability law enforcement is subject to by even further strengthening already present qualified immunity protections. How could anyone look at the current political and social environment and think this is the direction we need to go?

Across the country, a new police shooting seems to happen each week. We cannot even make it through the trial of Derek Chauvin without an officer shooting and killing a man in the same metro area. In Iowa, a Des Moines Register reporter was pepper-sprayed at point-blank range and arrested just for being near the protest she was covering.

Finally, the point that makes it clear that this bill was created in bad faith is the fact that a racial profiling provision was not included. Any ban on racial profiling should pass quite easily, but unfortunately, such things have devolved to partisan issues. Yet this idea was suggested by Iowa's own hard red Kim Reynolds, essentially the state's party leader. So the Republican Party had the support and power to include this, but intentionally chose not to. They ignored their party leader, they ignored the people. This bill is not meant to better the state, it's meant to send a message to those that protest racial injustice.

Reynolds to propose law banning racial profiling in Iowa (

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(4) comments

Seymour Trout

Black Lives Matter and Antifa are not protestors. They are rioters who deserve no respect, considering the people they have beat up and killed, the hundred cops they have sent to the hospital, the billions of dollars of damage they have done, and the whole neighborhoods they have burned to the ground. I wholeheartedly support making such rioting a felony and slamming their punk butts in prison. They are enemies of civilization.

As for giving drivers a break who hit a protestor on the highway, here’s a helpful hint to the BLM/Antifa rioters: DON’T PLAY IN THE FREEWAY, YOU MORONS! These idiot rioters are outraged that cars hit them when they are wandering around a highway in the dark. If you are that stupid, the cars are doing the world a favor by culling your idiocy from the gene pool.

Racial profiling is liberal propaganda. You can’t tell the race of a driver in the car ahead of you. The liberal claim that the cops can do so all the time is nonsense on its face. The reason why cops stop more blacks on the road is that blacks commit more traffic violations and don’t maintain their cars as part of a general black dysfunction in all things. Blacks are less likely to graduate from high school, less likely to pay their bills on time, more likely to shoplift and commit murder.

The crazy lefty Daily editors are naive about black people whom they regard as harmless cartoon creatures unfairly maligned by Evil White Men. They don’t believe they have any agency to control their lives nor better themselves.

Jim Baxley

" a country filled with undertrained and trigger-happy officers."

Lost me right there. A single-digit number of incidents amid hundreds of thousands of police-civilian interactions is statistically irrelevant. Spare us your cop-hating vitriol.

Facts and Logic

Let's talk about the protestors for a minute. Are they truly protestors? I'm sure some of them are. However, the majority of these protests end (and some begin) with rioting, looting, burning, attacking innocent people, vandalism, and general destruction. How is this even remotely acceptable in our country? When people on the right side of the aisle entered the Capitol on January 6th, they were (rightly) forcefully condemned on all sides. However, many top level Democrats and those in the media are encouraging these protests that generally turn violent. (examples: Kamala Harris raising money to bail out those arrested, Maxine Waters encouraging more rioting if George Floyd's case doesn't go the preferred direction, etc). How is this acceptable? This double standard is truly astounding!

Or let's think for a minute about the situation in the George Floyd case. Everyone knows that if Derik Chauvin is acquited, there will be mass rioiting in the streets. Cities will burn (or continue to burn in some cases). How is this happening in America? Why are we not shocked by these events? Why are we allowing rioters to destroy and tear down people's hard work and investments? Is anyone living in these cities going to get ahead when their buildings are closed down, looted, and burned?

The riots are extremely damaging - to everyone involved. The riots aren't helping anyone or changing anything. They need to be stopped. Rioters need to be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Don't agree? Imagine YOUR house being broken into, YOUR business being looted, YOUR car set on fire. How will that solve anything? If you truly think there is a problem with American policing, you should first look into the actual police-civilian contact statistics. Then, if you still think there is a problem you should work to legally change something - advocate for legislation, run for office, change your vote. There are many things you can do to make a difference. However, looting your local Walmart or stealing a pair of shoes from the nearest FootLocker won't make a difference, it only makes you a garbage human.

Firstname Lastname

You just don't get it roads are made for protesting! Where did the founding fathers and mothers and people of (non disclosed questioning genders) protest? In the streets. And what is wrong with inciting a riot for a just cause? Majority rule is the only way to run a government. As for looting stores its just our way of really sticking it too the rich people. Because now they have to rebuild in our crappy neighborhoods. That is the most fun. As the great Dr. Martin Luther King once said. " whats the point of protesting if you dont loot a few stores,"

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