28.5% of all Black people living in Des Moines receive citations. Yet, Black people are only 11% of the population.  Compare that to white people living in Des Moines who receive only 12% of citations, yet they make up 75% of the city’s population.


Marijuana Arrests – 2014 through 2019

As a percentage of population, Blacks are are arrested at a disproportionate rate for marijuana.  Remember, Blacks are only 11% of the Des Moines population. However, over the years, they make up, on average, over 30% of marijuana arrests. This is true even when marijuana arrests  dropped dramatically, as they did in 2018 and 2019.

Black people are arrested and booked at higher rates than white people.

Based on data from 2014 through 2019.

Data Overview

6.2x Blacks are at least 6.2 times more likely to be arrested and booked for interference with official acts than Whites.

4.5x Blacks are 4.5 times more likely to be arrested for speeding than white people.

3.2x Black people are 3.2 times more likely to be issued a citation for an equipment violation than a white person.

Racial bias plays a part in the daily jobs of DMPD officers.

Of all arrests made by DMPD officers after a traffic stop where a citation was issued 28% of the time the person was Black.

40% of officers disproportionately arrest Black people.


The ACLU reports that 55% of all drug arrests in Iowa in 2018 were for possession of marijuana


If you are a Black person, you are 3.1 times more likely to be issued a citation for a traffic violation than if you were a White resident.


If you were a Black person, you were 2.3 times more likely to be issued a citation for speeding than a White Person.

There are racial disparities in Iowa across many quality of life areas.


The median income of African American families in Iowa in 2018 was $31,001. The median income of families in Iowa was $76,068. Source: State Data Center & ICSAA 2020 Report.


The rate of imprisonment for Blacks is more than 10x the rate for whites. Source: The Sentencing Project

Voting Rights

Iowa is the only state that imposes lifetime voting bans on people with felonies, even after they have completed their criminal sentences. Source: ACLU of Iowa,