‘We are Devonna Walker’ protest held for Black Iowa woman called racial slur before being fatally stabbed in dispute with white neighbors

Protest held by activists in Cedar Rapids on Feb. 4 will begin with a march and push for charges in the fatal stabbing of Devonna Walker.
Devonna Walker
Devonna Walker. Photo courtesy of Advocates for Social Justice

Update: An arrest has been made in the homicide of Devonna Walker.

A coalition in Cedar Rapids is continuing to push for criminal charges to be filed in the homicide of a Black mother who was fatally stabbed during an argument with a white couple at her apartment complex.

The “We Are Devonna Walker” protest will be held from noon-3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, beginning at the Lindale Mall parking lot (next to Cheddar’s) in Cedar Rapids.

Walker, 29, a mother of three, was stabbed on Jan. 2, and called a racial slur during the dispute. The neighbors had clashed before, according to a GoFundMe account set up to benefit Walker’s children. Her murder was captured on bystander cell phone video. (Viewer discretion is advised). Cedar Rapids police and the Linn County Attorney have said witnesses were interviewed but no charges have been filed so far.

Some people feel that if Walker was white her attacker would have been arrested by now.

“Devonna’s killing was an act of racism and we will not stop until there is justice for Devonna, her family, and the larger community,” Advocates for Social Justice wrote in a statement this week.

Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks on Friday issued a statement about the status of the investigation. Watch the YouTube video or read the entirety of his statement below.

Map of Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids

Statement by Nick Maybanks, Linn County Attorney:

“Good afternoon.

My name is Nick Maybanks, and I am the Linn County Attorney. Today is Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. I’m going to give you an update into the investigation of the homicide of Devonna Walker.

On Jan. 2, 2023, Devonna Walker died as a result of being stabbed at a townhouse complex in Cedar Rapids.

On Jan. 12, 2023, the Cedar Rapids Police Department submitted to our office investigative reports for consideration of criminal charges. As they stated they would do, the Cedar Rapids Police Department has continued to cooperate with our office in this ongoing investigation. I have been in constant communication with the Cedar Rapids Police Department regarding this investigation. Together, we identified potential follow-up investigative avenues, and they have continued to make attempts to contact and interview potential witnesses. Our office has been receiving additional reports up to and including today’s date when we corresponded to see whether new information was available.

As I hope you all can see, this investigation has consistently been a top priority for our office and for the Cedar Rapids Police Department, among the many other cases our offices collaborate upon.

The homicide of Devonna Walker is a very important case. As of next week, I must also attend to another very important case that will be going to trial in Linn County and that may take up to two weeks. The homicide of Devonna Walker will continue to receive attention and be reviewed during this time period. To assure that multiple eyes are laid upon this important case, I have requested two of my top felony prosecutors to review the case, as well. Hopefully, during this time, we receive the final information we need to make a decision.

Once our office has made a decision on how to move forward, I will share that information with Devonna’s family. I will then announce the decision publicly. I expect to have enough information to make a decision by the end of February.

To be abundantly clear, our office and I, personally, am very aware of the disgusting, hateful and vile language that has been seen on a video that has been publicly accessible. The use of this language is being considered in this investigation, along with all the other evidence and the law to which we are bound in the State of Iowa.

I’ll be direct: There is no place for this type of this disgusting language in a civilized society and the careful consideration we are giving this case should not be construed in any manner to be an expression of ambivalence to the hurt that so many people feel from watching and listening to this language. It is on the top on our minds.

In conclusion, let’s take a moment to reflect on the senseless loss of life that occurred in this case. The fact that there are now children without thier mother. There’s a mother without her daughter and loved ones grieving. Let us be respectful of them through this process as well.

Every loss of life is tragic, especially when it was so avoidable like it was in this case.

We mourn with Devonna Walker’s family and those community members who are feeling aggrieved.

The loss of human life through violence is always traumatic to the community, and that is why we are taking this investigation so seriously.

Thank you.”

The coalition pushing for media attention and criminal charges include: Advocates for Social Justice, Cedar Rapids NAACP, Indivisible, Marion Alliance for Racial Equity, Parents Against Violence Everywhere, Stand in Unity and We Are CR. A town hall was held on Jan. 29.

A GoFundMe to benefit Walker’s children has been set up.


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