DES MOINES, Iowa -- The non - profit organization, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, filed a lawsuit against the Des Moines Police Department last month accusing it of racial profiling. Now, the group is calling on city leaders to carry out change.
Over the summer Iowa CCI worked with the community to come up with ideas on how to tackle the issue of racial profiling. On Thursday, the group will present those ideas to members of the Des Moines City Council. For years, activists have lobbied for anti - racial profiling legislation but now they are taking a different approach.
"There wasn’t a quick fix at the state level in the legislature and there won’t be one here, at the city level but this is a place to start," says Iowa CCI community organizer, Bridget Fagan – Reidburn. "We're hoping if we can pass something in Des Moines that we can keep doing this around the state and other cities."
The Des Moines Police Department implemented an unbiased policing policy in January of 2017 but activists say that isn't enough. They say a law needs to be established outside of the department. Community members also suggested the city take a deeper look into collecting law enforcement data annually that could shed light on racial disparities within the system.
City councilwoman at - large, Connie Boesen has attended all the meetings. During them, she's gotten to hear first hand accounts of citizens affected by racial profiling in the community but says once the ideas are proposed there are no guarantees if the issues will be addressed by the council or how long it will take to implement them.
"I don’t think anything is ever a quick fix in something like this. We will be taking their recommendations and seeing what we do and take it back to the rest of the council," she says.
Despite, Iowa CCI's lawsuit against the police department, organizers say a conversation about the racial profiling took place before the incident occurred.
The meeting is open to the pubic. It begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Polk County Senior Center at 2008 Forest Avenue.