An Iowa man has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for shooting a 15-year-old Black girl. The incident took place following a pro-Trump political rally he attended late last year.
The Associated Press reported that “Michael McKinney, 26, of St. Charles, pleaded guilty in June to intimidation with a dangerous weapon and willful injury in the Dec. 6 shooting after a rally in Des Moines near the state Capitol.”
The criminal attack appears to have started when McKinney and other Trump rallygoers noticed a group of teenage girls driving by a rally McKinney had just attended.
According to the AP, “the girls in the car and rally participants were exchanging insults when the teenagers’ car was surrounded by Trump supporters. The car [then] backed up, hitting a pickup truck.”
Instead of letting the teenage girls leave, the Trump supporters carried on with their verbal assaults, causing the situation to escalate even further.
“At that point, McKinney, an Army veteran who was wearing body armor and carrying several firearms, shot into the car, hitting a then-15-year-old girl in the leg,” AP said. “He later told police he felt he was in danger and was protecting himself, according to court records.”
During McKinney’s sentencing, the girl he shot — whose identity has not been released because she is a minor — read a statement saying that she “believed she was going to die that day,” adding that she does not yet know if she’ll ever be able to fully walk again following the attack.
“McKinney, who has been in custody since his arrest, apologized to the girl and said he used poor judgment that day,” AP said.
Many in the Des Moines area have criticized local police treatment of the case after authorities dramatically downplayed the political and racial aspects of the shooting, claiming it was the result of a “traffic dispute” and nothing more.
In reality, the rally that McKinney had attended — which was sponsored by Women for America First (the same pro-Trump group that hosted the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C. that led to the insurrection on the Capitol) — has been called a breeding ground for illegal, racist, White Supremacist attitudes and behavior.
During McKinney’s sentencing, the judge mentioned his lack of criminal history and honorable discharge from the military. He was sentenced to two concurrent periods in prison, lasting a maximum of 10 years. He will be eligible for early parole, depending on his behavior while incarcerated.