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Iowa cops sue city council member for assault over 2020 protests

Two Des Moines officers claim the incident was “nothing short of domestic terrorism”


Justin Surrency, WHO-TV via Twitter

By Suzie Ziegler

DES MOINES, Iowa — Two Des Moines police officers are suing six people, including a city council member, over an incident that happened during the George Floyd protests of 2020.

Officers Peter Wilson and Jeffrey George allege the six protesters assaulted them during a protest that turned violent outside the Iowa Capitol building on July 1, 2020, the Des Moines Register reports. One of the defendants, now-City Council member Indira Sheumaker, has been charged with assault and battery. The five other defendants have all been charged with assault or attempted interference with arrests. They are Clayton Stein, Eva Lewin, Anna Gebhardt, Bradley Penna and Jennifer Erwin.

The incident began when officers tried to arrest three people in connection with a June 20, 2020, protest that resulted in damage to a police vehicle and other property, according to the report. Sheumaker and Stein are accused of putting George in a chokehold to interfere with the arrests. Sheumaker is also accused of hitting Wilson. Lewing, Gebhardt, Penna and Erwin are accused of pulling on Wilson’s arms to stop him from making an arrest, the report said.

In their lawsuit, Wilson and George claim the defendants’ actions amount to terrorism.

“While purportedly claiming to be engaged in peaceful protest, their actions and plans were nothing short of domestic terrorism," the complaint reads, according to the Des Moines Register.

George and Wilson are suing as individuals, not as representatives of the police department, the report said.

Several of the defendants, including Sheumaker, pleaded guilty to the criminal charges, the report said. Sheumaker was sentenced to probation. She was elected to the Des Moines City Council in November 2021 and ran on a platform of defunding the police, the report said. Sheumaker said her experiences protesting inspired her to run for City Council.

Read the officers’ lawsuit below.