Video shows Iowa State Patrol ordering tear gas on protesters on June 3

Two videos released by Iowa City show two perspectives from the police line on June 3, when Iowa City police officers and Iowa State Patrol officers used tear gas on protesters marching toward Interstate 80.


Jenna Galligan

A protester puts their bicycle on the ground before sitting down in front of police officers. Officers fired tear gas on the crowd after protesters disobeyed an order not to advance. Several protesters reported that no one in the crowd made physical contact with officers before being tear gassed unexpectedly. This protestor sat on the ground amid a cloud of tear gas for several minutes.

Caleb McCullough, Politics Editor

Body camera videos of Iowa City protesters being tear gassed by police were released by the city Thursday, confirming what Mayor Bruce Teague said after the incident, that the Iowa State Patrol gave the order to use tear gas on the protesters.

The two videos, each more than an hour long, offer new details about a night that caught national media attention and drove Teague to vow that tear gas would not be used again on protesters.

One video, coming from an officer at the front of the line, shows a few protesters riding ahead of the crowd on bikes and a moped to speak with the officers.

“We want to talk to y’all before they get here, we want to talk to y’all,” one protester said. “They won’t try to push off your barricade. Don’t worry about that.”

An officer responded to the protesters, saying, “Please understand, we will not let them get to the Interstate.”

The protesters ahead of the line talked to the officers about racial profiling they’d experienced in Iowa City and racial injustices as the crowd approached.

Orders given to the protesters by the Iowa State Patrol can be heard in another video from the back of the police line.

An officer, identifying himself as a State Trooper, told the protesters multiple times that they were in violation of Iowa Code and to disperse immediately.

Moments later, the same officer gave the order to deploy the tear gas. Both State Patrol and Iowa City Police Department officers then deployed tear gas.

Neither video shows violence between protesters and police before the tear gas was used, and people near the front interviewed by The Daily Iowan in June said there was no aggression from protesters. In the first video, protesters were standing still and chanting, “Don’t shoot” when the order is given.

Officers also used pepper spray on protesters after the first order to use munitions, and fired pepper spray and pepper balls at protesters who didn’t initially disperse.

Iowa City has contracted with a California-based firm to conduct an investigation into the events on June 3. The investigation will provide a description of the events of the night, the command structure that was used, the use of force policy, and more in a public report to the council.

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