On Tuesday, a vehicle carrying Republican Governor Kim Reynolds hit and drove through Jaylen Cavil, a Black Lives Matter protestor who was attempting to block her in the hopes that she would roll down her window and speak to him. Instead, her driver plowed through Cavil like a Republican tax cut getting through congress. At least, that's what happened according to his account. Said Cavil:
"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.' I was wrong."
Cavil was not injured, but was shocked when the car hit him and said the "impact spun him around and lifted him slightly onto the hood of the vehicle." However, Sgt. Alex Dinkla, a spokesperson for the Iowa State Patrol tells it differently, saying in a statement:
"Today, the Iowa State Patrol investigated an incident that occurred near Ackley, Iowa, involving a demonstrator and a state-owned vehicle transporting Governor Reynolds. As the vehicle started to leave a scheduled stop and enter the roadway, a demonstrator approached which caused the Governor's vehicle to slow. The demonstrator stopped short and to the side of the vehicle. As the vehicle began to turn away from the protestor and onto the roadway, the demonstrator intentionally stepped in front of the slowly moving vehicle. The demonstrator had little to no physical reaction to any contact he created and the vehicle then entered the roadway."
There might have been a time where you could chalk this up to a tale of "he-said-she-said" if it weren't for the fact that we have now seen plenty of footage where police officers and others barrel through protesters and then drive away.
It's hard to believe the Iowa State Patrol's official stance, that Cavil was looking to do bellyflops on top of car engines, presumably for that sweet PR, when you watch protesters getting knocked over like NPCs in Grand Theft Auto, and then without much retribution for the perpetrators, or reform to show for it. That first video, for example, takes place in Los Angeles and is just one of many instances of blatant police cruelty in response to the BLM protests and not only has Police Chief Michael Moore still yet to resign, but he has also, in fact, received the mayor's blessing. Whatever the current tradeoff is for getting hit by a car while protesting versus recognition by your elected officials, it's pretty worrisome how little it favors the person who is facedown bleeding on the pavement.
It's also insane to think that this could be a trend after Heather Heyer died while protesting in Charlottesville after an avowed white supremacist plowed into a crowd and killed her. Protesting is supposed to be a right in this country, and while I'm sure some of you are thinking, with your thumbs firmly pressed into your brains, "Uh, what if they're blocking the roads? What if they're in the way?" The obvious answer is "Don't run them over." But, I think the better question would be, "What sort of life-conditions would a person have to be faced with to risk participating in a protest where they could easily turn into roadkill?" I think if enough people took the time to ask that then we wouldn't be in this mess, but officials like Kim Reynolds are instead just driving away.
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