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Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Hate Crimes for Hitting Black and Hispanic Kids with Her SUV


Iowa woman Nicole Marie Poole Franklin, 42, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to trying to kill two children because of their race, according to the Department of Justice.

Poole Franklin is the defendant previously accused of striking a Black boy, and a Hispanic girl with an SUV in racist attacks. She carried out these attacks separately and in close succession, according to the plea agreement obtained by Law&Crime. As part of the set of facts that Poole Franklin admitted to, the defendant was driving her 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee in Des Moines, Iowa on December 9, 2019 at about 3:38 p.m. She saw “Minor Victim #1” walking with a young family member of his on the sidewalk. Believing him to be “Middle Eastern (Arabian) or African descent,” she drove her SUV onto the sidewalk and struck the boy.

Poole Franklin did it because of his actual or perceived race, authorities said. Reports indicated that the victim is Black. Federal authorities said he suffered pain, cuts, bruising and swelling because of what happened.

The second incident followed mere minutes later. At about 4:09 p.m. to 4:23 p.m., Poole Franklin was in nearby Clive, Iowa, when she saw the second victim, who she perceived to be “Mexican.” As before, the defendant drove onto the sidewalk and struck the child, who sustained pain, cuts, bruising, swelling, and a concussion. Again, she did this because of the child’s actual or perceived race.

The teen, Natalia Miranda, told KCCI in a December 2019 report she was standing by a stop sign when the incident happened. She didn’t remember the impact, just the vehicle approaching her, she said.

“And I remember waking up in the snow,” Miranda said. She said she didn’t know what was going on.

“Nicole Poole Franklin attempted to kill two children because she thought they came from another country,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in a statement on Thursday. “All people in the United States, regardless where they come from, have the right to be free from fear of violence because of who they are. The Justice Department will continue to protect the civil rights of all individuals and prosecute hate crimes, as we have done in this case.”

Poole Franklin’s defense did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment. Sentencing for the two counts under the federal Hate Crime Act is set for August 19.

You can read the plea agreement here:

[Mugshot via Polk County Jail]

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