Woman intentionally strikes Latinos with her vehicle, commits other crimes.
Nicole Marie Poole Franklin, of Des Moines, Iowa, has been charged with attempted murder and other crimes after she told the police she intentionally ran over a 14-year-old girl walking on the sidewalk of a school and was involved in two more hit-and-runs the same day, including one involving another child, the police said. The attacks appeared to be racially motivated. Franklin told authorities she hit the girl “because she thought she was a Mexican.” All of the attacks happened within hours of each other.
Franklin also hit a 12-year-old boy with her 1998 Jeep Cherokee, according to police. He was walking on the sidewalk of an apartment complex. Witnesses told authorities “the S.U.V. accelerated immediately before the crash, which officials said left the boy with minor injuries.” The attack happened around 4pm. Just forty-five minutes later., “Franklin yelled racial epithets at a Conoco convenience store clerk and a customer in West Des Moines,” according to the report. Kevin Reed, 53, said he was checking out at the gas station when he saw Franklin “throwing potato chips, destroying merchandise and referring to people by racial and ethnic slurs.” He said Franklin “appeared to be on something.”
Waheed Abdul, 57, who co-owns the Conoco with his brother, wasn’t there the day of Franklin’s arrest but confirmed a surveillance camera showed Franklin “targeting his brother with racial and ethnic slurs.”
In addition to attempted murder, for the hit-and-runs and public disturbance, Franklin had been charged with “a hate crime, public intoxication, and a shoplifting charge of fifth-degree theft,” according to court records. The items she took “were valued at $6.80 and included a bag of peanuts, an ice cream cone and a beef jerky stick,” the report indicates.
“The collective voice of metro law enforcement, and the communities we serve, is sending the message that if you commit biased-based crimes, we will charge you with the most serious offense applicable, with the most severe consequences,” Sgt. Paul Parizek of the Des Moines police said. “In this case, that charge is attempted murder.”
Miranda, the young teen who was struck, suffered several injuries including bruising and a concussion but returned to school less than a week after the incident. “I was in the hospital and I tried moving, and I couldn’t get out of my bed,” she said, adding, “Sitting up was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”
Polk County Attorney John Sarcone said that a hate crime charge against Franklin in the attempted murder case “isn’t off the table,” but he “doesn’t think it would bring the justice the community is demanding.” He added, “All I can say is attempted murder is a class B felony. That’s a 25-year sentence, 17 1/2 are mandatory. It’s five times any sentence you would get on a hate crime.”
Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) stated of the hit-and-runs, “This is the latest victim in what has already been one of the bloodiest years for Latinos in the United States and no one is more to blame for this dangerous toxic environment in our country today than President Trump himself. He has steadily beat the drum of racial bigotry since he started campaigning for office and inspired murder, assaults, and racial taunts all across America in 2019.”