Black Lives Matter Movement & Systemic Racism

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Black Lives MatterThe murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, amplified the Black Lives Matter movement and immediate need for action. As a result, rapid change has swept the country, including here in Iowa City.

Accelerated by local protests and calls for justice, the City of Iowa City has committed itself to strengthening existing social justice and racial equity efforts as well as re-imagining new strategies for dismantling systemic racism in our community.

Review the City's Preliminary Plan to Restructure Police

Black Lives Matter & Systemic Racism Resolution (June 2020)

On June 16, 2020, City Council passed Resolution 20-159, outlining 17 actions to be taken by the City to address the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and systemic racism. An abridged summary of the resolution items is listed below. View a full one-year progress summary.

  1. Develop a preliminary Plan to restructure the Iowa City Police Department (ICPD) towards community policing.
  2. Commit $1,000,000 to local efforts promoting racial equity and social justice.
  3. Increase diversity of City employees, expand equitable recruitment efforts, and elevate organizational equity training, policies, and procedures.
  4. Receive a report of ICPD involvement in use of gas and flash-bang devices during a June 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in Iowa City.
  5. Create ad hoc Truth & Reconciliation Commission to carry out restorative justice.
  6. Adopt 2021 state legislative priorities related to criminal justice reform, the enhanced authority of the Community Police Review Board (CPRB), and decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana.
  7. Continue use of racial equity toolkit use in all city departments, expand training to the City Council, and educate and train the local business community.
  8. Increase accountability and oversight authority of CPRB, where legally possible.
  9. Improve transparency and accessibility of detailed ICPD budget expenditures.
  10. Review inventory of military-grade equipment in ICPD, evaluate federal contracts with the ICPD, and express support for divestment of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle.
  11. Enact ICPD General Order to expressly ban the use of chokeholds and any maneuver that cuts off oxygen or blood flow.
  12. Continue ICPD policy and practice to be consistent with IA H.F. 2647, ensuring police officers in Iowa have not committed serious misconduct.
  13. Investigate compliance and evaluate disciplinary action related to proper use of body cameras and vehicle recording devices
  14. Ensure the duty to intervene and stop excessive force, in both ICPD General Order and an MOU with area law enforcement agencies.
  15. Increase opportunities for artistic expression by communities of color.
  16. Prohibit the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bangs against peaceful protesters.
  17. Establish Juneteenth as an official city holiday beginning in 2021.

Summary of Racial Equity Efforts

For information on past social justice and racial equity efforts, visit the Office of Equity and Human Rights.

Community Policing

Community Policing is a philosophy that seeks to address the root causes of crime, works to reduce fear of social disorder, and builds confidence in police through problem-solving strategies and police/community partnerships. It recognizes that law enforcement can rarely solve complex societal problems alone and that creative solutions and partnerships are needed to ensure the best outcome for all residents. Community Policing may mean many different things to different people.

Disproportionate Minority Contact Study

Since 2006, the Iowa City Police Department has partnered with researchers to collect and analyze demographic data on traffic stops as part of the Department's ongoing efforts to ensure fair and equitable policing.

A summary of those efforts can be found  online. 

Community Outreach

If you would like City staff of the Office of Equity and Human Rights to conduct trainings on Know Your Rights in the area of education, public accommodation, housing, employment, credit or on the use of a racial equity toolkit, please contact the Office of Equity and Human Rights.

In addition to specially planned events, the public is invited to provide input at formal City Council meetings, Community Police Review Board meetings, and/or Human Rights Commission meetings.

Please visit the Preliminary Plan to Restructure the Police webpage to find additional input opportunities.

Education & Engagement Events

Many different City departments and divisions host and partner to provide educational events, celebrations, and trainings, including the Equity & Human Right's Division, the Iowa City Public Library, Iowa City Parks and Recreation, the Senior Center, and many more.

To stay up-to-date on all the events occurring throughout the City, please register for e-mail and/or text message alerts from the City and various departments. You can also follow the City on social media.

Documents and Resources

 Additional Information

Racial equity is the development of policies, practices, and strategic investments to reverse racial disparity trends, eliminate institutional racism, and ensure that outcomes and opportunities for all people are no longer predictable by race.

Why start with race?
The creation and perpetuation of racial inequities is embedded into economic, educational, health care, governmental, and social structures at all levels. Initially focusing on racial equity provides the opportunity to introduce a framework, tools and resources that can also be applied to other marginalized groups based on gender, sexual orientation, ability, class, and age, among others.

Get Involved

Stay up to date on City of Iowa City news, including social justice and racial equity efforts, by signing up for e-mail or SMS/text message notifications from the City of Iowa City. Simply enter your preferred communication method and select "Equity and Human Rights," under 'News and Events."

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