Black Lives Matter Movement & Systemic Racism News

Black Lives Matter

The 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.

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. City staff will periodically provide a status report on progress of these actions. An abridged summary of the resolution items is listed below:

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, 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 Public Input

The Iowa City Police Department is compiling public feedback to help expand the framework for Community Policing in Iowa City. 

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. We look forward to hearing your ideas and thank you for your input and care for our community.

Please fill out the public input form to provide your thoughts on what you would like community policing to look like in Iowa City. This form will be available until October 15, 2020.

Additionally, the City Council will hold a series of six listening posts dedicated to this topic. Each listening post will focus on a different topic, and police officers and relevant service providers will be in attendance. Please see Upcoming Education and Engagement Events for information on these listening posts.

Community Outreach

The City Council, along with its appointed Board and Commissions and City staff, are committed to conducting outreach throughout the community.

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.

Upcoming Education + Engagement Events:

Past Events:

  • June 3, 2020: Speak Up, Speak Out: Wetherby Park - watch the video
  • June 5, 2020: Speak Up, Speak Out: Pheasant Ridge Community Center - watch the video
  • June 6, 2020: Speak Up, Speak Out: Mercer Park - watch the video
  • July 22, 2020: Initial Culturally Responsive Communication training for local business community
  • September 9, 2020: Culturally Responsive Communication training for area property managers/landlords and businesses
  • September 16, 2020: Listening Post #1 on Community Policing (Mental Health, Crisis Intervention, and Addiction), at Mercer Park.

Documents and Resources


More 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: 

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