City Apologizes for 1988 Racist Communication


Social media posts have recently highlighted a news item from 1988 reporting on a City of Clive communication sent to members of a neighborhood watch group instructing them to call the police if they saw any black men in their neighborhood at night.  The communication was denounced by City leaders and community advocates at that time.  The Des Moines Register reported the incident with the headline “Clive police urge residents: Report sightings of blacks.”  Recent posts of that article on social media point to it as a glaring example of how systemic racism has been infecting Clive and other Des Moines Metro cities for decades.  Today, the City of Clive is again denouncing that 1988 communication, apologizing for it, and committing to on-going future reforms.

Mayor Scott Cirksena has expressed the City’s commitment: “We are deeply ashamed of this incident from our community’s past.  We regret that something of this nature was published with the City’s name on it and we apologize again for this past mistake.  Today, our City of Clive and its Police Department maintain strict policies and demonstrate a clear record of zero tolerance for racism of any kind, especially against Black Americans. Our journey in this effort is urgent and on-going.  We look forward to joining many others in being part of the solution to advance positive change for people of all races, ethnicities, and cultures. Our work is just beginning.”

The social media activity referencing the 1988 City communication is happening in the context of nationwide protests of the killing of George Floyd.  The City has condemned the killing and is committed to listening and understanding the experiences of Black Americans and other people of color in the community, and working to ensure that policies and practices are in place so that all people are treated fairly.