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Des Moines Black Lives Matter leader arrested in Iowa City during protests

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 6:25 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - One of the leaders of the Des Moines Black Lives Matter group is in the Johnson County Jail Tuesday morning after University of Iowa Police arrested him.

According to the Johnson County Jail, 24-year-old Matthew Bruce faces nine charges of assault on a peace officer with intent of injury and one charge of interference with official acts.

Jail officials say the charges come from two separate incidents. They include one that happened at 8:28 p.m. at the University of Iowa President’s residence as well as one at 11:36 p.m. at the University of Iowa Pentacrest.

Criminal complaints show during protests, he pointed a laser beam light into the eyes of multiple officers, causing injuries of which they needed medical treatment. Officers approached him and asked him to stop, but he ran away. Officers then arrested him at 11:40 p.m.

Those times coincide with protests happening with the Iowa Freedom Riders. That group called for four nights of protests in Iowa City, starting each night at 7 at the Pentacrest, following the shooting of Jacob Blake. Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake on August 23 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake and officers had scuffled, and then the officer shot him in the back while holding his shirt as Blake reached into his car with his children inside.

Bruce has been arrested before. He turned himself into police back in June after Des Moines Police say he and several protesters spray painted a police car during a protest. The Black Lives Matter group in Des Moines held multiple nights of protests in the city following the death of George Floyd. He died in Minneapolis on May 25 after city police officers kneeled on him, one on his neck, for nearly nine minutes while he repeatedly told them he couldn’t breathe. Of the four officers involved, former officer Derek Chauvin is charged with murder.

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