116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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This is John McGlothlen with the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, May 10th.
Our weather in the Cedar Rapids area today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 60. Winds from the northwest 5 to 10 mph becoming northeast in the afternoon. Tonight should be partly cloudy, with a low around 38.
In a Saturday evening forum on diversity, Cedar Rapids mayoral candidates were split on the issue of whether systemic racism exists in law enforcement. Former Mayor Ron Corbett, the moderator of the first candidate forum of the campaign cycle leading up to the Nov. 2 election, asked all three candidates about a November Gazette article profiling Cedar Rapids police Officer E.J. Merriweather. In the article, the Black officer said he does not believe systemic racism exists, though he believes there are racist people. The candidates were asked if they concur. Advocates for Social Justice board Vice President Amara Andrews said she “unequivocally” disagreed, citing an ACLU study showing that a Black person in Iowa is 7.3 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person. And, she noted, that of 219 sworn personnel in the Cedar Rapids Police Department, there are four Black officers, according to the department’s 2019 annual report. Mayor Brad Hart said “there’s just not a way” to give a yes or no answer. Adding, “If he’s talking in the country, it’s clear that some of the 18,000-plus police departments in the country still have systemic racism.” Mayoral candidate Tiffany O’Donnell, Women Lead Change CEO, said, “Nationally it’s clear that we do have systemic racism.” But about Cedar Rapids police, she said, “I’m proud to know many of our officers. I respect and admire the work that they do here and they put their lives on the line every day, and I’m just grateful.”
More than half of Linn County’s age 16 and up population is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to public health data released Sunday. In the Corridor, Linn and Johnson counties continue to show vaccination rates higher than the statewide average. As of Sunday, more than 1.14 million Iowans were fully vaccinated, an increase of over 12,000 people from the day before. That represents about 45.66 percent of Iowans old enough to be eligible. That rate now has crossed 50 percent in Linn County, where 90,591 people age 16 and up were fully vaccinated as of Sunday. The comparable rate is higher — over 57 percent — in Johnson County, where 71,028 people were fully vaccinated as of Sunday.