Iowa's governor said her driver 'acted appropriately' when he hit a Black Lives Matter protester blocking her SUV

mmark@businessinsider.com (Michelle Mark)
Iowa's governor defended her driver after he struck a Black Lives Matter protester blocking the vehicle.
Iowa's governor defended her driver after he struck a Black Lives Matter protester blocking the vehicle.

YouTube/We Are Iowa Local 5 News

  • Iowa's governor on Tuesday addressed the moment when a state trooper driving her SUV struck a Black Lives Matter protester on June 30.

  • She accused the protester of acting "inappropriately" by stepping in front of the moving SUV, though the protesters, Jaylen Cavil, said he was simply standing in front of the car and did not jump in front of the vehicle.

  • She also said the driver "acted appropriately."

  • A spokesperson for the Iowa State Patrol said the driver will not be disciplined, and there will be no crash report because Cavil wasn't injured and the SUV wasn't damaged.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday that the state trooper who was driving her from an event when he struck a Black Lives Matter protester blocking the road had "acted appropriately."

Reynolds made the comment at a news conference, where she also accused the protester of acting "inappropriately" and stepping in front of the moving SUV.

"As we were leaving the vicinity, the individual sped up and stepped in front of the vehicle intentionally, and you cannot block traffic as we're leaving an event," she told reporters.

 

The protester, Jaylen Cavil, told The Des Moines Register he had stood in front of the car during a June 30 protest in Ackley in the hopes that Reynolds would roll down her window and speak with protesters.

"The SUV that Gov. Reynolds was driving in drove right up to me. I was standing right in front of the car and I just stood there. I was like, 'I'm going to stand here. Surely the driver of the governor is not going to hit me with her car. This is the governor, my governor, who's supposed to be representing me. I'm sure that her car is not going to intentionally hit me,'" Cavil told the newspaper. "I was wrong."

He later told the newspaper that Reynolds' account of the incident was incorrect — he said he didn't step in front of the vehicle as she said, but rather he had simply been standing in the vehicle's path.

"It's not like I went out of my way to jump in front of the vehicle in the way that she explains it or the State Patrol explains it. I was already standing where the vehicle was driving to," he told The Des Moines Register.

A video circulating online shows the vehicle, moving slowly, bumping into Cavil's side before driving away.

 

A spokesperson for the Iowa State Patrol told The Des Moines Register that no crash report was recorded because Cavil wasn't injured and the SUV sustained no damage from the collision. The trooper won't receive discipline "as he did not violate departmental policies or procedures," the spokesperson said.

Cavil said he and his fellow protesters had wanted to speak with Reynolds to demand she speed up her plans to sign an executive order restoring voting rights to former felons.

He told the newspaper he believed the SUV incident revealed a double standard in how people are treated under the law.

"Folks in the state of Iowa should really be concerned about the sheer lack of accountability that we're seeing and the exceptionalism that we're giving to Gov. Reynolds," he said. "Because if it was me or anyone else who was driving a car or riding in a car that struck another person, that car can't just drive away and everything be fine."

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