Iowa Freedom Riders hold vigil for Makeda Scott

After a Saturday night protest, the Iowa Freedom Riders held a vigil for Makeda Scott.


Katie Goodale

Protesters lay flowers down on a memorial built for Makeda Scott during a Black Lives Matter protest organized by the Iowa Freedom Riders on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. This protest, a part of a four day protest streak, included a memorial for UI student Makeda Scott. Mourners left flowers and candles in front of the Old Capitol Building.

Lauren White, Politics Reporter

In the second night of a four-night streak of protests in Iowa City, the Iowa Freedom Riders held a memorial for former UI student Makeda Scott following a protest through Iowa City. 

Scott was a UI student who died during a boating trip on Lake MacBride. The Iowa Freedom Riders are calling for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department to further investigate her death. 

The memorial in Scott’s honor was held in front of the steps to the Old Capitol where hundreds of protesters lined up to place flowers in front of a stand-up portrait of Scott and give their respects. 

“I want to remind everyone around us that (Scott) is more than her death, and more than her drowning on the boat…Makeda, from what I know Makeda was a strong beautiful Black woman,” IFR organizer Raneem Hamad said during the vigil. 

Makeda Scott’s name was one of many that protesters shouted during their march and spray painted onto streets and walls. 

Scott’s body was recovered from Lake McBride June 8. According to a report from the Sheriff’s Office, she was last seen in the water near a boat and had not resurfaced. Her death remains under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office. Family and friends of Scott’s are asking for a thorough and transparent investigation from the Sheriff’s Office.

At last week’s protest, Lina Murillo, a UI professor of gender, women, and sexuality studies, spoke with the group about her former student.

Saturday night, between 100-200 protesters continued protests to pressure the Iowa City City Council ahead of Tuesday’s meeting to release a video of the June 3 protests, which city councilors say shows that the Iowa State Patrol gave the order to teargas protesters. Iowa Freedom Riders, a group that started protesting in June for racial justice, also are calling for the city council to cut funding from the Iowa City Police Department. 

The council is also considering at the upcoming meeting a purchase of tasers for the police department, which would cost $230,000 over five years, the DI previously reported.

Protests are planned to continue Sunday and Monday, leading up to the city council meeting on Aug. 1.