Photo: 14-year-old Natalia Miranda after being run over and hospitalized in a racist attack outside of Des Moines, Iowa
By Nélida Tello
Over the past week, Nicole Marie Poole Franklin, 42, has been charged with attempted murder in two separate incidents after she intentionally drove her SUV into a 12-year-old Black boy, and 30 minutes later, ran over a 14-year-old Latina girl in Clive, Iowa outside of Des Moines. Since her arrest, Franklin has admitted that both attacks were racially motivated and is now looking at a possible felony hate-crime charge as well.
Video surveillance from an apartment complex shows Franklin’s SUV charge at the young boy while he was walking on the sidewalk. The child received only minor injuries, and the incident remained unreported until Monday night.
The other child, Natalia Miranda, was on her way to her basketball game at Indian Hills Jr. High School when Franklin drove at the young girl and ran her over. The incident resulted in a two-day hospitalization, a concussion, and bruising for Miranda, who told local news she remembered the vehicle coming towards her, but nothing after, only regaining consciousness in the hospital, sharing that, “Sitting up was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”
Franklin, who promptly fled the scene, was apprehended by local police at a nearby gas station an hour later, where she had assaulted a convenience store clerk, hurling store items and shouting racist remarks at the employee and customers.
She told the police that she intentionally ran over Miranda because she was “a Mexican,” and intended to injure or kill the teen. She expressed anti-immigrant sentiments throughout the interrogation, repeatedly using derogatory terms against Latinos.
Groups such as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) have immediately pressed for “hate crime” charges, a category of charges which can apply to incidents that have a racial motivation. Local law enforcement has stated that the sentences for attempted murder are much more severe, and a hate crime charge could be used to draw focus away from the attempted murder charge, resulting in lighter sentencing.
Both sides ignore the context of the attacks happening within the heart of US imperialism, which produces reactionaries like Franklin and continuously reproduces the vile ideology that motivates them. Contrary to LULAC’s claims of Trump being the root, Franklin’s multiple attacks and her racist, anti-immigrant sentiments are a manifestation of US imperialism’s deepening crisis.
Many racist attackers like Franklin believe that they are “saving” the US or fighting its enemies, demonstrating that even the staunchest supporters of US imperialism inherently understand that it is in crisis and feel compelled to lash out violently as a result.
Individual reactionaries like Franklin must be rooted out of working class communities, but educating the people on the US imperialism that created her must be the focus of such organizing. The defense of the people and pursuit of justice against anti-people criminals such as Franklin cannot be left to the same imperialist state that nurtured her.