Iowa City TRC Chair Mohamed Traore arrested Thursday in connection with 2019 OWI offense

Traore, who chairs the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, was arrested after a meeting of the commission on Thursday.


Jeff Sigmund

Iowa City Police Dept. 410 E. Washington St. As seen on Monday June 8, 2020.

Caleb McCullough, Executive Editor

Iowa City’s Ad Hoc Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair Mohamed Traore was arrested Thursday after a meeting of the commission in connection with an operating while intoxicated conviction from 2019.

According to a release from the city, an officer noticed Traore in the lobby of City Hall on Thursday. The officer knew Traore had a warrant for his arrest relating to the charge, which was his second OWI offense, the release said. The warrant authorized any law enforcement to take Traore into custody, the city’s release said.

In January 2019, Traore was arrested in Iowa City for a second offense of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He plead guilty and was sentenced to seven days in jail.

After the officer spoke with Traore, he was taken to the Johnson County Jail. He was released from the jail Friday early afternoon.

“While I believe our officers were acting with the best intentions, I am keenly aware of the message the timing of this arrest sends to our community,” Iowa City Police Chief Dustin Liston said in the release. “We support the mission of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and will continue to work to build trust with members of the community.”

In an interview with The Daily Iowan, Traore said he was talking with community members after the commission’s meeting on Thursday and he said he was approached by an Iowa City police officer who asked if he could talk.

When the officer told Traore he had a warrant, he was said he was confused. He said his probation officer had never brought up the situation in meetings over the last year. He said he thought he had taken the needed steps in his 2019 case, but he said the police told him he hadn’t served his entire sentence.

“Maybe there’s a lot more due diligence I could have done at the time. So there’s some responsibility I can take off of that,” he said “But yeah, I just thought that everything was squared away.”

Traore said the timing of the arrest confused him because the offense happened two years ago.

“I had been in all these city buildings repeatedly over the last year and a half,” he said. “I was at an event last week with a bunch of police officers, no one said anything. I had been to the courthouse to support people in the last year… The timing was just odd, I don’t really know why yesterday.”

Traore said he didn’t know whether Thursday’s arrest was motivated by his involvement in the commission.

“I can’t say one way or another why exactly, I just know that it happened, it’s something I will take care of. At the end of the day doesn’t mean I’m done with TRC or anything like that.”

“While the officers acted in accordance with the law, the City acknowledges this situation could have been addressed in a more private manner removed from the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission meeting,” the city’s press release said.

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