Since October 2017, the Racial Profiling Project has filed a number of requests for documents under the Iowa Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Starting in mid-2018, Just Voices Iowa, was formed and the research began under this organization.  In the spring of 2021 obtained it’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS.

The spreadsheets and charts that are presented are derived entirely from records of citations issued and arrests made by the Des Moines Police Department.

  • The records on citations were obtained from the Iowa Department of  Transportation and include all citations issued by DMPD from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2020.
  • The records on arrests were obtained from the Polk County Sheriff and include all arrests made by the DMPD from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2020.

It is important to note the following with regard to the records maintained by the Des Moines Police Department:

  • The DMPD does not maintain readily accessible records on stops that do not involve the issuance of a citation or a resulting arrest.
  • The importance of this is demonstrated by the stop of Jared Clinton and Montray Little in July, 2018.  Since there was no citation issued and no arrest made, this incident would not have appeared anywhere in the data that was being collected by the Racial Profiling Project and would not have come to public attention had Mr. Clinton and Mr. Little not come to Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement for assistance at that time.

All Citations (Tickets)

The data in these two tables reflects ALL citations (tickets) issued for any reason, by race, and the resulting actions like arrests and bookings, for certain offenses, as indicated.  The original data used to create this chart is adjusted so that a stop leading to multiple citations is shown as one stop.


Equipment violations

The chart below reflects stops leading to a citation for an equipment violation.  Equipment violations provide a cover for pre-textual stops when the actual intent of the stop is to perform an investigation — including searches without consent or probable cause beyond the equipment violation.

From 2016 to 2020 (most current)

Equipment Violations Probability by Race 2016 to 2020

Equipment Citations and Arrests by Year and by Race 2016 to 2020

From 2014 to 2019

Equipment Violations Probability

Equipment Violations By Year By Race

Speeding Citations

The chart below reflects the racial disparities in the issuance of citations for speeding by the Des Moines Police Department and the consequences of such stops.

From 2016 to 2020 (Most Current)

Speeding Violations Probability by Race 2016 to 2020

Speeding Citations and Arrests by Year and Race 2016 to 2020

From 2014 to 2019

Speeding Citations Probability

Speeding Citations By Year By Race

Interference with Official Acts

In the five years for which data has been collected, 9.5 percent of  all arrests for “interference with official acts: were Black residents, while White residents were only arrested 6.1% of the time for this offense.


This chart reflects the number of arrests for interference with official acts. The chart is based upon individuals. In total 8,333 arrests were made during the five years and 267 of those arrests included the charge of “interference with official acts”. Blacks are charged with this offense 40.29% of the time.

Interference Arrests by Police Officer by Race 2016 to 2020

Police Officer Arrests by Race

The following chart reflects the arrest record for 334 Des Moines police officers for five years for which records were obtained (2016–2020). The chart has been sorted by the percentage of citizens arrested by each officer by race.

ALL Arrests Traffic Stops by Des Moines Police Officers 2016 to 2020