Iowa community wants answers after man filmed fatally stabbing Black woman is let go

Francis Akhalbey January 18, 2023
Devonna Walker was fatally stabbed on January 2 -- Photo via @ASJ_BLM on Twitter

A White Iowa man was filmed calling his Black neighbor the N-word before fatally stabbing her after she got into an altercation with him and another woman. And though authorities arrested the two individuals in the wake of the fatal incident, they were later released. 

According to Iowa’s News Now, the incident happened on January 2. The deceased Black woman was identified as Devonna Walker. In the video of the incident, Walker and a woman who is wearing a black sweatshirt and holding a dog’s leash are seen exchanging words about an attack that allegedly happened. 

“So you come back after me again? I’m gonna press charges again,” the woman in the black sweatshirt is heard saying. “Please just get inside,” a man who opens an apartment door says. And though Walker’s reply is inaudible, the man is heard saying, “”Then go around! Nobody wants you around here!”

But as the argument escalates, the White man is heard hurling a racial slur at Walker. “Shut the f*** up, you f****** n*****!” Walker is later seen shoving the woman to the ground as she walks back to the door. 

Walker then gets into what looks like a physical altercation with the man before he appears to stab her. Walker is then seen losing her balance before she collapses. But as Walker lies on the ground, the woman alleges the Black woman is “playing stupid.” “She’s playing stupid. Leave her alone. She acting like the dog attacked her,” she says.

Several bystanders later notice Walker is bleeding from a stab wound. Police responded to the scene about six minutes later and performed CPR on Walker before taking her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The man and woman were also arrested but later released.

In an interview with Iowa’s News Now on January 8, Walker’s mother, LeSean Boles, registered her displeasure over investigators not communicating with her. Boles said she only spoke with police at the hospital.

“Friday (January 6) – I went to the police station. I wanted to know what’s going on,” Boles said. “How come no one’s knocked on my door? No one’s contacted me. I don’t even know where my baby at. I ain’t seen her since this all happened.”

Responding to the incident in a statement, Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman & Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks, said they’re “not in the position to release any more details” about the case because “this is an ongoing investigation.”

“We understand the family and friends of Devonna Walker – and our greater community – want answers as to what happened that led to Devonna Walker losing her life,” they added. “We want answers as well and that is why the Cedar Rapids Police Department and the Linn County Attorney’s Office are continuing to work together on this ongoing investigation.”

But Advocates for Social Justice released a statement calling for the arrest of the people involved in the stabbing and the release of the medical examiner’s report. Below is their full statement:

“On January 2, Devonna Walker, 29, was found stabbed at the Cambridge Townhomes on the 2100 block of North Towne Court NE. Walker died shortly thereafter. There are eyewitnesses and video showing that Devonna was stabbed by a man, yet that man has not been arrested or charged with any crime. Furthermore, witnesses have stated that the man called Devonna racial slurs before stabbing her. Advocates for Social Justice (ASJ) expresses condolences to the family of Devonna. As of Tuesday, January 10th, Devonna’s mother had repeatedly sought assistance from the Cedar Rapids Police Department. She did not have information regarding the case, she did not have the findings of Devonna’s autopsy report, and she had not received Devonna’s body in order to move forward with funeral preparations. We recognize that this is an active and ongoing investigation. However, the absence of an arrest and lack of transparency with the case further erodes trust between the Black community and law enforcement.

According to the FBI, ‘Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim—they are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community.’ The racist nature of Devonna’s killing should be met with the utmost seriousness and pursued to the furthest extent permitted by law. The community demands that Devonna Walker receive justice, answers, and accountability. Specific demands are:

1. Release the medical examiner’s findings and release Devonna’s body to her mother

2. Arrest and charge Devonna’s murderer(s)

3. Affirm that Cedar Rapids officials and agencies involved in this matter demonstrate that Black Lives Matter – that Black people are worthy of the same protection and treatment as white people

Our community has demonstrated the capacity to unite in order to push for greater racial and social justice. ASJ will continue to support community efforts that support transparency, advocacy, and public awareness. To that end, ASJ invites the public to join us for the protest organized by Parents Against Violence Everywhere (PAVE) at the Cedar Rapids Police Department at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, January 11, 2023.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 18, 2023


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates