Outside firm releases report on the use of tear gas in Iowa City

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 6:40 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa City released its independent investigation into tear gassing Black Lives Matter protesters back in June.

But, almost all Iowa City city officials we reached out to didn’t want to talk about the report’s findings today. It will now be up to the city council to act or not on the reports around 40 recommendations.

Those recommendations in the around 80-page report include developing more narrow crowd control policies, update trainings, and increase interactions with protest leaders in the future.

The Iowa State Patrol declined to participate in the outside investigation and didn’t answer our emails or phone call for comment.

The city of Iowa City and its police force also declined to comment on the report. The city manager says it wants city council to look at the report without the influence of city staff. TV9 reached out to multiple members of the Iowa City City council. Only one member got back to us who told us she hasn’t looked at the report yet.

The report said protesters throwing tear gas canisters back at police was “the first recorded act of physical aggression during the event.”But, those canisters had to be fired first to be thrown back and the report also notes protesters burning things earlier.

Ala Mohamad, who is a co-founder of the Iowa Freedom Riders, said she was disappointed in the report. She said she’s frustrated that the company who made the report, OIR Group, didn’t talk to any people from her group. Although the investigators did talk to protestors.

She said she hopes the city council gets rid of tear gas as an option for responding to protests in the future.

“It’s never justified,” she said. “These are chemical ammunitions, on children, like there needs to be more serious talks about this and I don’t see it. I need to see action, I need to see bills, I need to see words from my congresswoman and congressmen. Like, come on.”

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