On Monday, the Des Moines Register reported that two people were shot and killed in Davenport— with two others shot and wounded — during protests on Sunday evening and Monday, including Italia Marie Kelly, a 22-year-old, who was shot and killed while leaving a protest following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The other victims’ identity has not been released in reports.
“This is unacceptable,” said Traci Kennedy, a volunteer leader with the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Italia Marie Kelly should be alive today. We will continue to work in solidarity with our partners to create safe communities throughout Iowa.”
“Italia Marie Kelly died after standing up for her right to live,” said Grace Johnson, a volunteer leader with Iowa State University chapter of Students Demand Action. “It’s time to recognize the systemic racism that contributed to the death of George Floyd and Italia Marie Kelly is not new. We need to focus our time and resources on how to contribute to active anti-racism work and organizations who have led this vital work for decades.”
As a whole, gun violence takes a disproportionate toll on Black and brown communities. Black Americans represent the majority of homicide and nonfatal shooting victims in the U.S. and are far more likely than white Americans to be victimized by and exposed to assaultive gun violence.
At the time of the shooting, Kelly was leaving a protest on the disproportionate impact of shootings by police and use of force on Black Americans. Black Americans are far more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts. And data from The Guardian shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns. According to the Washington Post, Black Americans are shot and killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans, and 32 people have been fatally shot by on-duty police since 2015 in Iowa.
Research finds that meaningful use of force policies reduce police shootings. By encouraging de-escalation, utilizing early intervention systems, and ensuring that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable, use of force policies can ensure that laws help advance safety and promote trust in the police.