Nicole Poole Franklin
Nicole Poole Franklin who was accused of driving her SUV into two children in 2019 to try to kill them because of their race. (AP/Shutterstock)

Iowa Woman Who Drove Into 2 Children Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Hate Crime Attacks

In one of the most disturbing hate crimes in recent memory, a white Iowa woman has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for using her vehicle to violently plow into two children in two separate incidents based purely on their race.

Minyvonne Burke of NBC News reported that “Nicole Poole Franklin, 43, pleaded guilty in April [2021] to federal hate crime charges for attempting to kill a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl in December 2019.”

In federal filings, the Department of Justice said Burke purposely set out to harm a Black boy and Hispanic girl “because of their race and national origin.” Both victims’ identities have yet to be released because they are underage minors.

“According to prosecutors, Poole Franklin was driving her Jeep Grand Cherokee in Des Moines on Dec. 9, 2019, when she saw the 12-year-old walking on the sidewalk with his sibling, also a minor,” Burke reported. “Upon seeing the children and believing that the victim was of Middle Eastern or African descent, Poole Franklin drove her vehicle over the curb towards both children, striking one of them.”

Luckily, that victim escaped serious harm. Although he suffered cuts, bruises and severe emotional trauma, he was not admitted into the hospital.

“Poole Franklin sped from the scene and [then] saw the 14-year-old victim walking near Indian Hills Junior High School in Clive about 30 minutes later,” Burke said. “Believing the girl was Hispanic, prosecutors said Poole Franklin drove her Jeep over the curb, struck the child and drove away.”

Following this attack, Poole Franklin’s victim made it into the school and was able to call for help. She was then taken to the hospital and treated for several serious injuries ranging from bruises to a concussion.

After attempting to murder two different children with her vehicle in less than an hour, Poole Franklin went to a gas station where she was caught shoplifting. After being apprehended, she began using racial slurs against the store employee who caught her and was eventually arrested.

“It wasn’t until days later, while still in custody, that police connected Poole Franklin to the hit-and-runs,” Burke reported.

During questioning by police, court documents show that Poole Franklin said she attempted to kill the boy with her vehicle out of fear, saying “he’s just like ISIS” and “he’s not supposed to be there, and he’s going to take me out.”

As for her second attack, Poole Franklin said she attacked the girl because she “wasn’t supposed to be in the country.” Court documents said she then began making racist statements against Hispanic people, saying they were “takin’ over … our homes, and our jobs.”

During sentencing for Poole Franklin, Richard D. Westphal, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, said, “holding Poole Franklin accountable, not only for her intentional actions, but for the malicious beliefs behind them, is what our justice system should be, and a must to provide just punishment, afford adequate deterrence and protect the public from further crimes by this defendant.”

Prosecutors also noted to the judge that Poole Franklin has a criminal history dating back decades, including convictions for theft, assault and harassment. Poole Franklin also had a history of substance abuse and mental illness.

During sentencing for the case, the girl’s father, Cesar Miranda, spoke directly to Poole Franklin, explaining the nightmare she had caused for his family.

“My hope disappeared. My belief that I was free in this country was gone,” Miranda said. “I don’t hate you because I don’t want to feel what you feel to my daughter. I hope you change because human beings can never live like this.”

According to Burke, the girl said that the scars from that day are still with her and will be for the rest of her life, while also defiantly telling Poole Franklin, “I’m sorry my skin color bothered you, but me and my people are never leaving.” 

“Poole Franklin’s federal sentence will run concurrently to a 25-year state sentence for attempted murder charges,” Burke said. “She will be under five years supervised release following her prison term.”

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

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