Des Moines BLM organizer found not guilty of charges stemming from protest arrest

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Jaylen Cavil, of Des Moines, Iowa, takes a cell phone photo during a demonstration outside Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office, Monday, June 15, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A jury on Tuesday acquitted a prominent organizer for the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement who police accused of interfering with an arrest during a protest last year.

The jury found 24-year-old Jaylen Cavil not guilty of interference with an official act, The Des Moines Register reported.

Police said Cavil got in the way as they were trying to arrest another protester during a demonstration last year.

Video footage provided to jurors showed Cavil standing next to a detective and demanding an explanation for the other protester’s arrest, despite police orders for him to stand aside.

The prosecutor said she respected the jury’s decision.

Cavil said his case and others involving protesters that have been dismissed or resulted in not-guilty verdicts in Polk County show police acted unjustly during last year’s protests.

A Des Moines Register analysis in March found nearly 80 such cases related to the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Cavil ran a write-in campaign for Polk County sheriff after his arrest but received less than 5% of the vote.

An Iowa State Patrol trooper driving Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds also hit Cavil as he and other protesters attempted to block her SUV during a June 2020 event.

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