The ACLU of Iowa has filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of five Black Lives Matter activists who were banned from the Iowa state capitol grounds after violence broke out there between state troopers, protesters, and Des Moines police on July 1st.
The ACLU of Iowa’s legal director says it’s a “stunning” and likely unprecedented violation of free speech rights at a place that’s supposed to invite Iowans to express their concerns to government leaders.
Des Moines BLM organizer Jalesha Johnson has been banned from the capitol complex for one year. “Legislators and the governor can ignore our calls. They can also ignore emails. We can no longer sit face to face with them. Our best way of conversing with government officials has been taken away. How are we supposed to be heard now?,” Johnson says.
They’re asking the court to block the state patrol from enforcing the bans.
(By Katarina Sostaric, Iowa Public Radio)