Iowa police say they’ve found a man who saved an American flag during a protest after the death of George Floyd — then vanished for three months.
Jerrell Banks, 32, was at a June 1 rally outside the Law Enforcement Center of Sioux City to protest police brutality and racial injustice when another protester snatched a flag from a lamppost, according to KMEG-TV.
Livestreamed video of the protest shows Banks chase down the person carrying the flag, take it back and return it to its place on a street-side light pole. The video does not show the protester actually taking the flag, but numerous bystanders can be overheard commenting.
“They’re gonna burn it or something,” someone says.
“Ah no, we should probably stop that,” another demonstrator replies.
A few seconds later, Banks appears on the video jogging down the street and confiscating the stolen flag.
“We ain’t doing all that,” Banks says as he walks by the cameraman.
He later told local media that vandalizing the flag would do nothing to bring back Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
That officer, Derek Chauvin, has since been fired and is facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. Three other officers involved in the deadly arrest also were fired from the department and criminally charged.
“We see the flag just go into our crowd. I was just like, ‘bro, I gotta get that flag. That’s not right,’” Banks told Siouxland News. “We’re not here to tear up our city. We’re not here to burn down our city. We don’t want them to think that we’re out here looting.”
But a month later, in early August, Banks’ friends reported him missing, according to local police.
Banks worked as a nightclub and internet radio DJ, according to the Sioux City Journal.
Police finally made contact with him however, KMEG reported this week, citing Sioux City Community Policing Sergeant Jeremy McClure.
McClure told the outlet that Banks did not wish to disclose his whereabouts.