An Iowa woman was fatally stabbed following an altercation with a white neighbor in Cedar Rapids after the man called her a racial slur.
According to reports, 29-year-old Devonna Walker died on Jan. 2 after she was called the N-word.
Cell phone video captured Walker arguing with a white neighbor in front of an apartment building. Walker, wearing a red shirt, appeared to be arguing with a white woman wearing a black sweatshirt as a man opened the front door of an apartment and said, “Please, just get inside.”
The woman in the black sweatshirt ignored the man and continued yelling at Walker as she held her dog on a leash on the front lawn.
“So you come back, you come back after me again? I’m gonna press charges again,” the other woman said.
After Walker responded to the woman with an inaudible remark, the woman yelled, “Then go around! Nobody wants you around here!”
The man then yelled at Walker, “Shut the f— up! Shut the f— up, you f—n n—!”
Walker then pushed the woman down in front of the doorway before a man standing in the doorway immediately appeared to stab Walker. After the stabbing, the woman accused Walker of faking her injuries with a mocking tone as her dog jumped up at Walker before she collapsed on the lawn.
“Oh, she’s playing stupid,” said the woman. “She’s playing stupid. Leave her alone. She acting like the dog attacked her.”
It wasn’t until several minutes later that bystanders realized Walker was bleeding and had been stabbed. After learning that the man stabbed Walker, a bystander cried, “Oh my God! This is all f— blood. Another bystander replied, “They stabbed her?”
Officers from the Cedar Rapids Police Department arrived on the scene at 6:44 p.m., approximately six minutes after Walker collapsed, to find her on the ground and suffering from a stab wound. They performed CPR before transporting her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The man and woman were detained by the police but later let go. Angelina Ramirez from Advocates for Social Justice said there is no reason that an arrest should not have taken place given the video footage and witnesses on the scene.
“It is not up to the police department to create a defense for her killer,” said Ramirez. “There is testimony from witnesses. There is video footage of the killing. There is no excuse for an arrest not being made at this point. The Black community, the brown community, mostly Black community does not feel protected by the police. They don’t feel like they are given the same due diligence under the law as white people are.”
Video of the incident has been making rounds on social media. While some viewers are outraged that no arrest was made in the case, others argue that the man who stabbed Walker acted in self-defense.
“This girl came UP TO THEIR DOOR. There is literally no excuse,” wrote YouTube user @jaysleezy5464. This was clear self-defense. You can’t attack someone because they called you a word. Period.”
Iowa law says, “a person is justified in the use of reasonable force when the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any actual or imminent use of unlawful force.”
Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman and Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks released a statement after receiving a barrage of calls about the stabbing asking why no arrests had been made.
“Because this is an ongoing investigation, we are not in the position to release any more details about the incident,” said the release. “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. 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.”
Devonna’s mother, LeSean Boles, told Iowa News Now that she had not been contacted by the police department and had to go to the police station for answers, which she did not get.
“Friday – I went to the police station. I wanted to know what’s going on,” she recalled. “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.”
Friends and family gathered at the Elevate Life Center in Cedar Rapids for a candlelight vigil for Walker on Jan. 15. According to a GoFundMe set up to help cover expenses, Walker had three children, including a newborn baby.