Public Safety

Coralville crowd turns violent early Monday

Nine people arrested on charges including burglary, assault, participating in a riot. Coralville sets curfew.

A boarded window at Kiera Mae Photography Monday, June 1, 2020, shows damage caused by rioters the previous night. (Gaze
A boarded window at Kiera Mae Photography Monday, June 1, 2020, shows damage caused by rioters the previous night. (Gazette photo)
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CORALVILLE — Nine Corridor residents were arrested Sunday night and early Monday after a gathering of about 150 people near Coral Ridge Mall resulted in clashes with police, vandalism and looting from a Walmart Supercenter, police said.

The riot, which caused city officials to set an 8 p.m. curfew for Monday night, was not part of an announced protest of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis May 25, Coralville Police Chief Shane Kron said.

But many of the people who gathered in Coralville expressed frustration or anger with police, sometimes shouting anti-police statements and telling officers they were “going shopping” at the closed mall, Kron said.

“We’re trying to create the safe avenue to protest and demonstrate because we believe the same things they do,” Kron said. “This is so not a protest or a demonstration. How do you forward your ideas when you steal a TV in a smash and grab from Walmart?”

Small and large businesses hit

Kiera Nichols, owner of Kiera Mae Photography, at 2466 10th St., Coralville, was among several business owners with windows broken in the riot early Monday. She and her grandmother, who owns the building, swept up glass and boarded windows Monday morning.

“It seemed like people were trying to emulate the anger they’ve been seeing, because it’s not like there was a protest or anything,” she said.

Around 10 p.m. Sunday, police received a report people had broken into Walmart, about a half-mile north of the mall, Kron said. When officers arrived, they found shattered glass and several people inside the store with stolen merchandise.

“We made a few arrests, but lots of people ran,” Kron said.

From there, activity moved back to the mall, focusing on the south side of the building near the Springhill Suites, witnesses said.

Police use non-lethal explosives

Kron said he tried to talk with people who had gathered, asking them what they wanted. He offered to protest with them if they would remain peaceful, he said. The group pushed the police line back several times, but then started throwing rocks at nearby business windows and at least two people assaulted police officers, police reported.

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At that point, the Coralville police used two flash-bang devices, which make loud noises, and ordered the crowd to disperse, Kron said.

“I said I’ll stay out here with you all night long, but we’re not going to throw rocks and we’re not going to hurt people,” he said.

The crowd was gone by 2 a.m., Kron said.

Coralville curfew imposed

A video showing a Minneapolis police officer pinning Floyd’s neck to the ground with his knee as Floyd said “I can’t breathe” has sparked violent protests around the country, including in Iowa. Two people are dead and two, including a police officer, were injured in shootings late Sunday or early Monday in Davenport, KWQC reported.

Monday afternoon Coralville announced a curfew from 8 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday, saying “pedestrian and vehicle movement, standing, and parking are prohibited during those hours unless traveling to and from work and home, or providing emergency response calls.”

“We at the City of Coralville recognize and support the rights of citizens to demonstrate and protest, and stand with those peacefully doing so in sadness and anger over the death of George Floyd,” Coralville Mayor John Lundell said in a prepared statement.

But the will enforce the curfew “until further notice” to “protect citizens, businesses and public safety personnel,” he said.

The following people face charges related to the Coralville incidents Sunday and Monday:

Joel Seals, 20, of Iowa City, third-degree attempted burglary based on allegations he participated in shattering the front doors of the Walmart Supercenter in Coralville, running into the store and attempting to steal multiple items around 10 p.m. Sunday.

Kendal Thompson, 18, of Coralville, third-degree burglary in connection with the break-in at Walmart around 10 p.m. When officers arrived at Walmart after employees reported the store was forcibly entered, they found Thompson inside the store with unpurchased store merchandise in his pocket, the criminal complaint states.

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Tessa A. Snyder, 23, of Cedar Rapids, first-degree burglary in connection with the break-in at Walmart. When officers arrived at Walmart after employees reported the store was forcibly entered, they found Snyder inside the store with a tire iron up her sleeve, the complaint states.

Darlesha D. Kearney, 29, of Marion, eluding police and assault on a police officer at 10:07 p.m.

She is accused of driving her car toward a police officer in the mall parking lot, causing him to jump out of the way. “I attempted to stop the vehicle the defendant was driving after she nearly ran me over,” the criminal complaint states. “The defendant eventually showed [SIC] and we were able to box her in near the front of Target.”

Cashmere K. Wallace, 28, of Cedar Rapids, control of a firearm by a felon, interference with official acts and drug possession. He is accused of approaching police in an aggressive manner, screaming and refusing to comply with commands at 10:07 p.m. “A Taser was deployed on defendant to gain control of him.”

Police also found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun in the back seat of a car where Wallace was sitting and found him in possession of marijuana, they reported.

Nichole M. Sanders, 38, of Tama, interference with official acts with bodily injury, assault on a police officer and participating in a riot. Sanders was “participating in a violent riot and refusing to vacate the area,” the criminal complaint states. Around 11 p.m. Sunday, she swung her fist, striking a police officer in the face and later caused an officer to receive a cut on her knee, police reported.

Claudell Sheppard, 26, of Coralville, trespass based on allegations he remained on Coral Ridge Mall property after police told him to vacate around midnight Monday.

Mashaun M. Clark Vandenberg, 19, of Coralville, assault on a police officer and participating in a riot. He is accused of approaching a police officer and striking him repeatedly with a closed fist around 12:30 a.m. Monday and attempting to escape police numerous times.

Kobe K. Brown, 22, of Anamosa, participating in a riot, interference with the judicial process and third-degree criminal mischief. He is accused of being part of a large group of people who threw rocks at and assaulted police officers just before 1 a.m. Monday. “The defendants was actively throwing furniture at a hotel window, fled the scene and was caught a short time later,” the criminal complaint states.

Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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