Protesters Force Suspension of Des Moines City Council Meeting

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines City Council will finish its first in person meeting in 15 months online after protesters forced its suspension Monday night.

Demonstrators overrode council activity while calling for the defunding of the Des Moines Police Department.

Activists were especially animated over an agenda item authorizing $10,000 for a Des Moines police officer to attend a training in Florida. They also demanded the firing of the city's police chief and city manager.

The council called a 10-minute recess, but eventually recessed the meeting after about an hour because of the disruption.

The council will finish the meeting virtually at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Mayor Frank Cownie later released a statement heavily criticizing the protesters:

"It is frustrating and disappointing to see the actions displayed Monday night in our City Council chamber. Because of the disruptive and alarming behavior exhibited toward Council and City staff, we had no choice but to recess our meeting. It will be conducted Wednesday morning at 7:30 via the Zoom network.

It is particularly unfortunate that our residents who had business to conduct before Council were unable to do so because of this infringement of their rights."

Monday’s meeting was the first in-person meeting since March 2020, and came with new requirements.

Occupancy was limited to 25 people and those in attendance had to pass through a security check and metal detector.

(Image from City of Des Moines)

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