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Iowa Lawmaker On Chauvin Guilty Verdicts: There's Still More To Be Done

04212021-Rep-Ras-Smith
John Pemble
/
IPR file
State Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, said he feels relief after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty.

When the jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty Tuesday for killing George Floyd, State Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, said he had to go on a walk to "shake off some anxious energy."

He said he feels a little confused. On one hand, there’s a sense of gratification for a “taste of justice.” On the other hand, Smith said the country needs to understand there’s still more to be done.

"I don't want Iowans to wake up tomorrow complacent, thinking that our work is done. I want us to wake up understanding that the work that we did last June, the fact that we see this guilty verdict in this case, means that we're on the right path, that our hard work, that the effort, energy we're putting in right is true, but that there's a lot left to be done," Smith said.

Smith added things like the disproportionate incarceration and recidivism rates are some areas Iowa needs to focus on next.

As of 2020, the rate of Black Iowans being imprisoned is 11 times that of white Iowans.

“I think this is another opportunity for Iowa, like we did last June, to lead our nation and show what it looks like to move forward as the United States and I'm excited about that," Smith said. "I think as Iowans, that's something we pride ourselves on: is rolling up our sleeves and getting to work and so hopefully tomorrow morning, we wake up prepared to do that.”

Smith encouraged Iowans to engage in other areas where racial inequities exist in the state and in the country.