Apparently, somewhere along the line, hitting protesters with a car just became the default move of authority figures. While we’ve seen multiple police officers employ this horrific tactic over the last month, a driver for the Governor of Iowa has become the latest to use it as well.
The Des Moines Register reports that a group of Black Lives Matters protesters stood outside of an event Governor Kim Reynolds attended at Family Traditions Meat in Ackley, Iowa. The protesters were there to encourage the governor to immediately sign an executive order that would restore voting rights for convicted felons who have served their time. Reynolds has previously indicated she would sign the order but not until the end of summer or early fall. Jaylen Cavil, an organizer with Des Moines Black Lives Matter, was among the protesters standing in the driveway of the business as the governor was leaving. Cavil was hoping the governor would stop and hear out their concerns.
“The SUV that Gov. Reynolds was driving in drove right up to me. I was standing right in front of the car and I just stood there. I was like, ‘I’m going to stand here. Surely the driver of the governor is not going to hit me with her car. This is the governor, my governor, who’s supposed to be representing me. I’m sure that her car is not going to intentionally hit me.’ I was wrong,” Cavil told the Register.
Cavil said he was spun around and lifted onto the hood of the car during the incident. While he didn’t suffer from any injuries, he was understandably shocked by what occurred. Pat Garrett, the spokesperson for the governor, has yet to comment, though the Iowa State Patrol has acknowledged the incident.
“The vehicle was operated by a member of the Iowa State Patrol. As the vehicle started to leave a scheduled stop and enter the roadway, a demonstrator approached which caused the Governor’s vehicle to slow. The demonstrator stopped short and to the side of the vehicle. As the vehicle began to turn away from the protestor and onto the roadway, the demonstrator intentionally stepped in front of the slowly moving vehicle,” Sgt. Alex Dinkla, a spokesperson for the Iowa State Patrol, said in a statement.
Cavil said the vehicle drove off after striking him and he was approached by a state patrol officer who began to yell at him shortly after he was hit. “I 100% think they intentionally hit me. There’s no way that this driver could not see me right in front of his car.” Cavil said. Matthew Bruce and Grace Merritt, two other protesters at the event, corroborated Cavil’s version of events. Despite this unfortunate turn of events, Cavil does not intend to back down from putting pressure on the governor.
“We just want answers. That’s why we’re following her around. We want her to know that we are not going to stay silent,” Cavil said.