Black Lives Matter protesters were kicked out of the Iowa state Capitol at an organized protest earlier this month after turning violent and allegedly assaulting a police officer. Their intent was to "kill" several so-called "racist" bills at the statehouse, one which would increase riot-related penalties.
CNN "fact checker" Daniel Dale suggested that the left-wing demonstrators did not storm state grounds and instead acted within the legal terms of the protest permit granted to gather outside the Capitol and in the building's first floor Rotunda.
Earlier this month, Dale described the demonstration through the sympathetic lens of liberal media, the same corporate machine that downplayed the 2020 far-left riots as "peaceful protests" despite video evidence of arson, vandalism, and theft.
Dale differentiated the Capitol Hill rioters who breached federal property on Jan. 6 from the Iowa protesters who walked one-by-one through metal detectors while security scanned their belongings and checked their temperatures.
"It wasn't. Not even close. Because the Iowa protesters didn't storm the state Capitol," Dale wrote in an article for CNN, touting "Facts First."
"The building is open to the public anyway," Dale added. "And the [Iowa] protesters did not disrupt legislative proceedings once they were inside."
It's true that the event organizers had obtained an authorized permit to host the pre-planned rally held on April 8, but it appears that the protesters requested entry under false peaceful pretenses—then turned violent once inside the premises.
Under Subsection 3.3 titled "Compliance with Laws" of the "Memorandum of Understanding" agreed upon between Advocates for Social Justice event organizers and the state's Department of Administrative Services (DAS), the authorized permit was no longer valid once the protesters both ignored and failed to obey lawful orders from authorities governing use of the Capitol complex.
The permit stipulated that Advocates for Social Justice, the Cedar Rapids-based group leading the dubbed "Kill the Racist Bills" initiative, agreed to "comply with all applicable laws" while in usage of the designated area per provisions of the Iowa Code and the state's DAS administrative rules.
Advocates for Social Justice promised to remain peaceful throughout the protest, according to the event's registration on the Capitol's calendar.
Josephine Pearl Mulvihill, an 18-year-old student at Norwalk Community Schools, was arrested by Iowa State Patrol troopers and charged with assaulting an officer.
According to the criminal complaint, Mulvihill and another female protester approached Iowa State Patrol troopers Dylan Hernandez and Dalton Grell, demanding the duo's names and badge numbers. The two troopers were en-route to another location, Hernandez testified in the affidavit, so the pair didn't stop.
"The two females purposefully and intentionally moved in front of us hindering/impeding our movement to our next assignment," Hernandez wrote. "At this time we attempted to side step the females, but they stayed in our path."
The demonstrator next to Mulvihill who was "very agitated" then "aggressively" waved her finger in the certified peace officer's face, Hernandez continued. At that point, Mulvihill "reached out" and "physically grabbed" Hernandez, he attested.
According to clips circulating online, Mulvihill on multiple occasions collected the names and badge numbers of present Iowa State Patrol troopers. Documentary filmmaker Ashley Dorelus, presumed to be the mentioned protester next to Mulvihill at the time of the arrest, uploaded footage of the subsequent altercation.
Dorelus had encouraged and applauded Mulvihill for the teen's previous successful attempts at recording trooper data: "Good job, queen." But when Hernandez shook his head after Mulvihill's request, Dorelus obstructed the trooper's pathway.
"You have to give [Mulvihill] your name and badge number," Dorelus yelled at Hernandez on the move, wagging her finger at the officer, which appeared on-camera. "Everyone on this floor has given their name and badge number."
The moment when Mulvihill accosts Hernandez is captured at the 30-second mark of the heated video. To the left of the frame, Mulvihill can be seen laying hands on Hernandez while Dorelus berates the trooper.
The grab pushed Hernandez in the process, he wrote further, causing the trooper to lose his balance. "After regaining my balance I did grip Ms. Mulvihill's wrist/forearm area and she attempted to pull away from me," Hernandez detailed.
"While I had my handcuffs out, attempting to place Ms. Mulvihill under arrest the other female, who was in front of me reached out and attempted to grab my handcuffs," Hernandez recounted. Mulvihill's cohort also began to scream for help from the other demonstrators who moved to pull the teen away from Hernandez.
The responding protesters dressed in "Defund the Police" attire tried to stop law enforcement from detaining Mulvihill and began to "rush" the officers, Hernandez added, thus attempting to help the teenage suspect resist and escape arrest.
Grell did have to push the demonstrators back so that Hernandez could place Mulvihill under arrest on the ground. Once she was in handcuffs, Hernandez escorted the arrestee away from the scene. The crowd scrambled to "swarm" the assisting troopers and even tried to prevent Hernandez from leaving the Capitol complex, surrounding the front and sides of the officer's patrol car, he alleged.
"Some of the demonstrators did attempt to enter my Patrol Car to regain custody of Ms. Mulvihill," Hernandez stated, noting that an exit had to be cleared by authorities so that he could transport Mulvihill to the district office. Grell did sustain minor injuries to his hands during the altercation, Hernandez reported.
Dale still undermined the factual reporting of several conservative outlets and associated journalists, including social media coverage by The Post Millennial's editor-at-large Andy Ngo and contributing editor Ian Miles Cheong.
"The saga of the imaginary Iowa Capitol-storming offers another troubling example of how even unsophisticated lies can hurtle around the web faster than the truth," Dale penned in the CNN "fact check."
"It also shows, once more, how the right-wing disinformation ecosystem often operates: A false initial claim gets shared over and over, reaching an ever bigger audience, by people and publications uninterested in doing even basic research to see if that initial claim is true," Dale wrote.
"You're not fact-checking," Ngo fired back at Dale, emphasizing that the CNN reporter was just "sharing spin" with the "backing of biased corporate media."
Other protesters told CNN that any physical contact with the officer was inadvertent and minor, insisting that Hernandez used excessive force.
Iowa State Patrol public information officer Sgt. Alex Dinkla told The Post Millennial that the incident in question still remains under investigation. Iowa Department of Public Safety strategic communications bureau chief Debra McClung also reinforced Dinkla's response via email.
Des Moines Black Liberation Movement called Mulvihill's recent arrest "illegal and unconstitutional." The organization's Twitter account went on to allege that right-wing commentators who covered the out-of-control protest engaged in "political misinformation," an alleged recurring tactic amongst "white nationalist[s]."
The group further claimed that conservative journalists and pundits had spread "outright lies" as "weak attempts to discredit" the racial justice movement.
The contested bills, seen by Des Moines BLM as an "existential threat" for all black Iowans, would further criminalize riotous activity not protected by First Amendment rights. "Iowa politicians are passing racist and dangerous bills. They don't think we're paying attention. They're wrong. We need your voice to kill the bills. Be there and be proud," the event's original infographics read.
SF534 expands criminal penalties, SF476 strengthens qualified immunities and heightens legal protections for cops, SF479 withholds state funds from cities that defund or reallocate local police department budgets, and HF802 bans mandatory teaching of "divisive concepts" related to "racism or sexism trainings" at public-funded Iowa schools, universities, and government agencies.
House Republicans filed an amendment on the bill that would include several pro-police measures and raise penalties for crimes such as criminal mischief and rioting, which Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds proposed at the beginning of the legislative session. The House amendment does not include part of the Republican governor's proposal—that would have increased penalties for assaulting an officer—which Mulvihill was charged with at the Iowa state Capitol protest.
Upon the teen's release from police custody, Dorelus praised Mulvihill, hailing the Iowa student as "a revolutionary." The civil unrest photographer's own Instagram bio self-styles Dorelus as an entrepreneur who is "Documenting the Uprising."
Mulvihill was cited and released to parental supervision. She was scheduled to appear on April 28 at the Polk County Criminal Courthouse regarding the serious misdemeanor charge. This is not the first time that Mulvihill has made local headlines or disrupted public assemblies. The Norwalk teen has exhibited belligerent behavior before towards authority figures.
Just days ahead of Mulvihill's arrest, the high school senior barged into the April 5 board meeting at Lakewood Elementary School, demanding the district to address alleged day-to-day "racist, homophobic and sexist" bullying on school grounds.
Mulvihill alongside other student activists were told several times by board members and the superintendent that the group would not be allowed to speak.
"You will sit and you will listen to me. You will listen to us," the uninvited 12th grader told the board. The protesters were instructed to voice the community's concerns via public comment forms, available near the room's entrance.
The demonstrators were also given the civil option to return when the public forum is set for attendees to speak, scheduled several days after on April 12.
A livestreamer at the Iowa state Capitol protest filmed Mulvihill admitting that she wants to "get the superintendent fired" and will be "crashing" the following school board meeting, "because [the administrative members] refuse to listen..."
Mulvihill and the accompanying crowd still stayed and narrated anonymous statements of discriminatory harassment while the board members sat silent.
The school's response to bullying depends on formal complaints filed and provided to the administration via an official procedural process, per the student handbook. The cases are then assigned to the Director of Student Services investigator.
"You guys sit here and you pretend to care about us and you don't. Because if you did you would have been addressing this," Mulvihill said during the meeting.
Mulvihill's mother later confirmed to the Des Moines Register that an investigator has been assigned to examine the allegations presented by the students.
It was the proposed student-led "Back the Blue Day" that prompted Mulvihill to act. She said the proposal was insensitive because of the contentious Chauvin trial. A poster was advertised, asking the student body to wear blue to support the police. Concerns were raised about the event's timing, leading to the ad's removal.
The initial plan was for students to buy and donate stuffed animals to local law enforcement to use when responding to calls in which children experienced traumatic events. The district wanted to honor the challenges police officers face and to provide emergency personnel with tools to address traumatic incidents.
Mulvihill also wants to change the school's curriculum to teach students about racial injustice. Administrators have requested Mulvihill to meet with the district's teaching and learning staff, but she has not accepted the offer. The unanswered invitation remains open to Mulvihill, the superintendent told Des Moines Register.
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