DES MOINES, Iowa. (AP) — Police used tear gas and arrested people at the Iowa Capitol during a protest to persuade Gov. Kim Reynolds to restore voting rights to felons.
The police said protesters started the confrontation on Wednesday but protesters accused law enforcement of mishandling the arrests. Videos from the scene show Iowa State Patrol troopers taking some protesters to the ground while others tried to pull authorities away.
Des Moines police arrived and more arrests were made. Police say at least 15 people were arrested. Two juveniles also were taken into custody
On Thursday morning, Speaker of the House Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford) and Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) issued the following statement about the incident:
"House and Senate leadership strongly support the actions taken by law enforcement at the Capitol yesterday to end a violent confrontation with a disorderly group of protestors. We respect any Iowans exercising their constitutionally protected right to peacefully assemble. The legislature took swift action this year in an effort to improve law enforcement in Iowa.”
“Assaulting, disarming, and spitting on law enforcement is never acceptable and will not be tolerated by any group on the Capitol grounds. The Iowa Capitol is a public building supported by every Iowan and any member of the public choosing to come to this building should feel welcome. It is not, nor will it become, an area of lawlessness.”
“House and Senate leadership are in strong support of Iowa’s men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe. We thank them for their service and truly appreciate the job they do."