Ames Police: Free Speech “Should Never Cross Over into Hateful Actions”

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Ames Police Department/Facebook

On Thursday, against the backdrop of reports from across the nation of hate crimes and racist graffiti by Trump supporters (not all of them immediately verified and at least one that police said was a false report), the Ames Police Department posted a message on Facebook reading in part: “We realize that some people in our community are worried and fearful right now. We want you to know, as always, we take crimes of hate and discrimination seriously.”

On the day before the election, Jason Tuttle, a commander with the Ames PD, sat on a panel at Iowa State University focused on race and diversity in light of white supremacist posters recently found on campus and “Build the wall” chants directed at Latina students outside a Campustown pizza joint. The discussion, hosted by ISU’s Student Government and the Black Student Alliance organization, left some students unsatisfied with Tuttle’s and ISU interim police chief Aaron Delashmutt’s responses to their questions.

The Ames Police Department has participated in previous discussions about easing racial tensions in the city, including one last July hosted by the advocacy group Ames Progressive Alliance following several fatal shootings around the country that counted both unarmed black men and police among their victims.

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Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.