Iowa Settles Lawsuit With BLM Protestors Who Were Banned From the State Capitol

  • Five BLM protesters who were banned from Iowa’s Capitol will receive financial settlements.
  • The Iowa State Appeal Board unanimously voted to approve a proposed settlement agreement.
  • In addition to issuing payments, the state agreed to withdraw all bans.
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After filing a lawsuit, five protestors who supported the Black Lives Matter movement and alleged constitutional rights violations when they were banned from the Iowa Capitol grounds will receive a financial settlement from the state, the Associated Press reported.

The State Appeal Board unanimously voted to approve a proposed settlement agreement, which recommends paying Jalesha Johnson, Louise Bequeaith, Haley Jo Dikkers, Brad Penna, and Brandi Ramus $5,000 each and their attorney $45,000, according to AP.

17 protestors, including those who filed the lawsuit, were arrested on July 1, 2020, by Des Moines police at the state Capitol, the Des Moines Register reported. The arrestees received letters from the state notifying them that they were banned from the Capitol grounds for up to a year, AP reported.

The ACLU of Iowa said in a December 2020 press release that it filed the lawsuit on behalf of five protestors and sought to invalidate the bans permanently, along with damages. A federal district court ruled that the state can’t enforce its ban, stating that it likely violated the protesters’ First Amendment rights, according to the press release.

In addition to the payments, the state agreed under the settlement to withdraw all bans and specified that the individuals “may continue to enter and use the Iowa Capitol Complex on the same basis and under the same terms as any other law-abiding member of the public,” AP reported.



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