Des Moines police line a guard rail blocking access to the front of the Des Moines Police Department after two nights of protests at the spot in May 2020. (Photo by Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)
Congress needs to continue to address social justice issues in the aftermath of cases in which police were accused of assaulting and even killing suspects this year, candidates for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District seat say.
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Former Congressman David Young, a Republican, said the nation needs to continue working on racial issues. “I do not believe the majority of the people in the United States of America, in Iowa, in our communities, are racist,” Young said. However, he added, “I don’t believe that we should ever stop trying to do better.”
The issues primarily should be handled locally, Young said in an interview. “When it comes to policing and law enforcement, I believe that is primarily a local issue. I don’t want federal policing departments. That is such a local issue. We need to make sure that we get rid of bad actors in law enforcement.”
In an Iowa PBS debate, Young said he voted in Congress for legislation addressing racial disparities in sentencing.
The Democratic incumbent, Rep. Cindy Axne, supports changes Congress made to try to rein in systemic racism in police departments. “I know that the majority of our police officers are doing a great job, but we do need to hold our police accountable for their actions,” Axne said in an interview.
In the PBS debate with Young, Axne said the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to improve police practices and accountability.
“We have to hold bad players accountable,” Axne said. “The majority of officers in this country are doing a good job and I do not support defunding the police, contrary to what my opponent has said I do. Let me make that very clear. I support our police, they provide a vital service, but we have to make sure that we hold others accountable by putting in things like no chokeholds and making sure that we have a database so that (bad actors) don’t move from precinct to precinct.”
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