DES MOINES, Iowa -- Des Moines police are setting the record straight when it comes to officer Kevin Thies' alleged history of racial profiling by the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek said, "What we found was it was about 253 arrests and 127 of those arrests were black, so far from one hundred percent."
On Wednesday, Iowa CCI released body camera video of Thies and fellow officer Natalie Heinemann during a July traffic stop of Des Moines residents Montray Little and Jared Clinton near Union Park. Iowa CCI says they accidentally counted duplicate arrests of individuals with multiple charges leading them to believe Thies arrested black people one hundred percent of the time in 2017. Iowa CCI Community Coordinator Bridget Fagan-Reidburn said, "We totally admit it was our fault we had the wrong numbers but now that we have the updated numbers it tells the exact same story. We know Des Moines has a racial profiling problem."
In the video, neither Little nor Clinton appear to have been given a reason to why they were stopped and it's under an internal administrative review. Parizek said, "Obviously there's constitutional rights at stake here and we don't want to violate anybody`s fourth amendment. We have to have probable cause."
FBI data shows of all arrests in 2016 in America 69% were white, 26% were black. In 2017 Des Moines police records show officers arrested 10,389 people with 63% of the people being white and 32% being black. Despite the initial error in statistics by Iowa CCI officer Kevin Thies' arrest count of black people remains higher the local average and nearly double the national average. Senior staff member Sharon Zanders-Ackiss said, "You are in a metro area that is a little over 10% black and to have 50% arrests being black, there's a disparity that is quite obvious."
The internal review will also look at past body cam video from Thies' stops and how he interacted with people from all backgrounds. Parizek said, "There is no good old boy system. If you look in the rear view you'll see that Chief Wingert has not had a problem terminating people that need to be terminated."