Des Moines police are investigating a string of attacks centered around the Iowa State Fair, and say they may be racially motivated.
Police say in the latest attack on the fair’s final night, Sunday, 30 to 40 teens roamed the fairgrounds looking for trouble. Some teens had been yelling, “It’s beat whitey night.” State Troopers say they tried to disperse a crowd of teens near the main gate at the fairgrounds, but once the teens left the grounds, they started fighting with Des Moines Police officers.
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One officer reported someone hit him and knocked him to the ground in the skirmish. In all, three officers reported minor injuries after teens punched and kicked them.
Officers reported using chemical sprays and a Taser to subdue the attackers. Police cited at least three teens for failing to disperse the area. Des Moines Police spokeswoman Lori Lavorato said officers are still trying to figure out what role, if any, race had in the incidents.
“We had a lot of assaults on people randomly walking out of the Iowa State Fair. Most of our victims happen to be white. Is that a racial thing? I don’t know. It’s all under investigation,” she said.
Lavorato said the department had brought in an extra unit Friday and Saturday for extra protection, but the unit wasn’t assigned to the fair Sunday when the latest fight happened.