A police officer kneels to listen to a protester near Merle Hay mall on Sunday night. See a full photo gallery.
Photo by Joe Crimmings

Des Moines, like many cities across the country, has seen both peaceful protesting and destruction in the past few days over police action in Minneapolis that led to the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd. While the violence has been captured in headlines and social media posts, the vast majority of protesters remained peaceful with a resounding message told in many different ways: Black lives matter. 

Nonetheless, chaos still ensued in some areas. Two people are dead and one officer is wounded in Davenport, where a round of rioting and violence turned fatal close to 3 a.m. today after police said an officer was ambushed. The tragedy was the result of unrest across the state for the past three nights, which has left some business owners with severe damage while they also juggle a weak economy due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, police used tear gas at protests near Merle Hay mall and arrested a Des Moines Register reporter covering the protest, though they released her shortly before midnight. 

Meanwhile, those protesting across from the Des Moines police station Sunday evening left peacefully after officers joined those rallying in taking a knee, a national symbol for ending racial profiling and police brutality. The moment was illustrative of a need to come together and listen to the needs of people of color in the community. 

Here are a few pieces to spur dialogue gathered by our staff. 

The American Nightmare: To be black and conscious of anti-black racism is to stare into the mirror of your own extinction.
The Atlantic: “A nightmare is essentially a horror story of danger, but it is not wholly a horror story. Black people experience joy, love, peace, safety. But as in any horror story, those unforgettable moments of toil, terror, and trauma have made danger essential to the black experience in racist America. What one black American experiences, many black Americans experience. Black Americans are constantly stepping into the toil and terror and trauma of other black Americans. Black Americans are constantly stepping into the souls of the dead. Because they know: They could have been them; they are them. Because they know it is dangerous to be black in America, because racist Americans see blacks as dangerous.”

Don’t let looters obscure message of protests: Change has to come
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: The demonstrations started with the makings of success, but they quickly turned violent as those people who don't think about consequences or messages or solutions took advantage of the situation. They looted and vandalized, going after mostly small businesses in their own community. “We can hope that change will begin to address the frustration and rage running so deep it leads to this kind of senseless violence. Fed up with being ignored and invisible, with no vision of a future that's any better than the past, some of those looters chose the only path they know to get attention. … We need to check ourselves. The bitter pill to swallow is knowing that a lot of young people committing those acts last night are our children, or our relatives’ children. We need to be better parents, better neighbors, better friends.”

Big bank execs call on employees to fight racism
Americanbanker.com: The chiefs of some of the biggest U.S. banks called on their workers to fight racism after an unarmed black man died as a result of a white police officer kneeling on his neck, prompting nationwide protests.

Corporate voices get behind ‘Black Lives Matter’ cause
New York Times: Major companies are often wary of conflict, especially in a polarized time. But some are now taking a stand on racial injustice and police violence. Netflix said: “To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.” Reebok said in a message to “the black community” that it “stands in solidarity with you,” telling its social media followers: “We are not asking you to buy our shoes. We are asking you to walk in someone else’s.”

Protests hammer cities still recovering from lockdown
Bloomberg: The reopening of America was always going to be fraught with competing fears of new virus outbreaks and economic meltdown. Now cities across the nation, from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles, are reeling from unrest that could worsen both.