Iowa, racist attacks, Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart

Two Black Iowa Elected Officials Face Violent Racial Harassment

Mayor Quentin Hart and Black Hawk County supervisor Travis Hall opened up about the harassment they faced.

Two Black Iowa county elected officials, Travis Hall and Quentin Hart, have been the targets of racial harassment and threats over the past six months. On April 18, a man was arrested for his alleged involvement in the incidents.

Hall, a Black Hawk County supervisor, recalled an incident in which someone poured a corrosive acid onto his work truck. He says he found himself being repeatedly targeted by racist calls, texts, and vandalism soon after.

“I could’ve been walking out to the truck, and if (that person) was there, would that have been thrown at me?” Hall worried. “All of these questions and constant fear -– that should not be the price of serving in public office.”

Hall was not the only person facing these types of issues, Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart was also being targeted because of his race.

Hart told The Courier, “It’s sad that in 2024 some individuals still choose to judge others not by the content of our character but by the color of our skin or political affiliation.”

A Waterloo man, Tyler Young, was arrested and put in Black Hawk County Jail after police were granted an arrest warrant for him in December on several misdemeanor harassment charges. Young allegedly threatened both Hall and Hart in text messages.

Hart and Hall described receiving dozens of concerning text messages that called them the N-word and other racial and homophobic slurs. One message read, “Go back to Africa with all the other gorillas.” 

While the messages seemed to have come from different phone numbers, local authorities were able to connect both to Young — a man that neither Hall nor Hart knew. 

Both elected officials told the outlet that the harassment was nonstop. Hart said that he would sometimes get up to 20 phone calls in a day threatening him and his children. On their phones, both men would get notifications of people attempting to fraudulently access their online accounts and others where people would try to create new accounts on apps like Tinder in their name.

Young has not been charged with the vandalism that occurred on Hall or Hart’s properties last year. Both men had their cars vandalized in October 2023. Hart and Hall said that they had trash thrown into their yards and even their mail tampered with. 

Hall opened up to the outlet. “All of these things make (I have) an uneasy feeling and knowing it was because I’m Black, it’s a burden,” Hall said. “It’s certainly been a stressor living in fear of the unknown around every corner or when I pick up the phone.”

“Quentin and I are not the first Black elected officials who have been the target [of racism]. Being a public, elected official should not mean you’re subject to this.”

Hall did give praise to the local law enforcement officers for continuing to take the threats against him and Hart seriously.

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