DES MOINES, Iowa — An intense back and forth between protesters and the Des Moines residents who displayed Nazi imagery in their front yard earlier this week ended in dramatic fashion on Saturday.
Local activists say they were trying to bring attention to the symbol of hate displayed by William Stark at his home just across the street from Morris Elementary School. Protesters stood outside the home with signs and a megaphone. They even set up a taco bar and joined in a dance number for inclusivity.
“The citizens of Des Moines want to let the world know that we do not support this, that we are indeed a city of love and inclusiveness,” said Des Moines resident Bonnie Brown.
But the protest took a much more confrontative turn soon after. Protester Megan Geha sent Channel 13 News a video showing a verbal confrontation between the residents and the activists. As both sides yelled back and forth at each other, one of the residents used racially-charged language before jumping in their truck and speeding off in a cloud of smoke. No one was hurt during the incident.
Stark had previously defended his signs, saying they are a piece of history and not racially charged. He also displayed several Confederate flag signs, a “Back the Blue” flag supporting police officers and an American flag with just 11 stripes and 32 stars.
Vandalism calling Stark “Nazi scum” was discovered Wednesday morning at the home. The spray-painted graffiti was visible on pallet signs in the yard and a trailer on the property. The Nazi flag pallet is no longer visible in the yard.