DES MOINES, Iowa — For Laural Clinton, money cannot heal her son’s figurative wounds. “To mistreat them, it was degrading, it was disrespectful. Nobody wants to talk about what happens to a person’s psyche,” said Clinton.
Video showed Des Moines Police Officer Kyle Thies and placing her son Jared Clinton and Montray Little in handcuffs and searching the vehicle while never providing a reason for the July 2018 traffic stop. “You don’t have to be breaking the law. You don’t have to be driving the wrong direction. You don’t have to do anything but to be black and young and in a rental car,” said Clinton.
The city of Des Moines reached a settlement in may for $75,000 to be split between Little, Clinton and the Parrish Law Firm who represented them. “What we saw in the video was a lack of courtesy and a lack of tact that isn’t the standard of conduct we expect from our employees,” said Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department.
Soon after the settlement, a civil rights lawsuit against officer Thies was filed June 8th from a traffic stop the same month as Jared and Montray’s. “When do we get done paying for their bad behavior?,” asked Clinton. She added, “It’s sad and I’m very disappointed that anybody has to file a lawsuit against my city because of the way they are mistreated here.” Laural says the issue goes beyond Thies. “I still think there needs to be a change in the police culture and how they handle the everyday stop with our young people.”
The Des Moines police says fostering a strong culture is important and in place. Parizek said, “Our cultural awareness training, our implicit bias training, those are things that we’ve had in place now for a while and we found them to be very effective.”
Laural believes the city of Des Moines needs police to keep the community safe but she is fed up with some officers not living up to the high standards that the thin blue line is sworn to keep. “I have no problem with good policing, fair policing with all citizens. If you treat everybody the same way then you don’t have to worry about treating somebody differently,” said Clinton.
Laural Clinton has been vocal in trying to help the city of Des Moines endorse a racial profiling ordinance. A draft has reached the city Human Rights Commission.