The joint meeting between the city’s Civil and Human Rights Commission and Des Moines City Council was being held virtually using the videoconferencing app Zoom due to lockdown measures intended to decelerate the spread of COVID-19.
Before the meeting was called to order, an unknown person gained access to the online gathering to aim offensive comments at the commission. The attacker singled out two specific members of the commission, leveling several ignorant, racist slurs and trotting out the n-word.
As the meeting opened, Joshua Barr, Des Moines’s civil and human rights director, told the council that he and other members of the commission had been “zoom-bombed.”
“There were some racial slurs and things that were posted. I’ll just be candid with it,” Barr told the virtual meeting attendants. “If that does happen again, we will have to end the meeting for the protection of the public.”
After Barr’s acknowledgement, an attempt was made to continue with the meeting. But moments later, as Mayor Frank Cownie delivered his opening remarks, a Zoom-bomber interrupted proceedings with more repellant rubbish.
To spare the attendees from any more offensive idiocy, the meeting was then cancelled.
Cownie described the actions of the zoom-bomber as a “disgusting and sickening display of racial intolerance” that would only strengthen the city’s resolve to educate those unfortunate people who in 2020 are somehow still mired in a ridiculous historical hatred.
Commission chair Kameron Middlebrooks said the sorry incident underlined the need for the community to come together in a spirit of love, equality, and positivity.
“What occurred proves hate and ignorance is alive and well. But I stand steadfast in my resolve to continue to be an agent of change,” said Middlebrooks. “Our commission has started the path to bridging the gap we face in our community and will continue to work cooperatively with council and Des Moines residents to ensure we drive this hate into the darkness and uplift neighbors with love and equitable policies.”
The City of Des Moines is currently operating under a Proclamation of Emergency issued on March 5, 2020, and Governor Jay Inslee’s Stay-at-Home order issued March 23, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Source: Infosecurity Magazine