A woman has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly hitting a 14-year-old girl with her vehicle over the girl’s perceived ethnicity in Clive, Iowa, according to local authorities.
Clive Police Department police chief Michael G. Venema announced on Friday that Nicole Marie Poole Franklin, a 42-year-old woman from Des Moines, was arrested on Thursday for running over the teenager as the girl was walking on the sidewalk on her way to school on December 9.
According to Venema, Franklin left the roadway to hit the girl on the sidewalk, then “left the scene without rendering aid to the girl,” who had suffered “numerous injuries.”
“During the interview Franklin not only admitted to being the driver of the car that struck this girl, but also that she had done so intentionally,” Venema said in the statement. “Franklin told investigators that she ran the girl over because she was, in her words, ‘a Mexican’.”
Franklin then made “a number of derogatory statements about Latinos” to investigators, according to Venema.
“I want to say, in the strongest terms possible, that there is no place in our community (or any other) for this type of hatred and violence,” the police chief said.
The girl, identified as Natalia Miranda, was released from the hospital on December 11.
“I don’t remember the impact,” she told local CBS affiliate KCCI at the time. “I just remember the car coming towards me.”
During a press conference on Friday, Venema told reporters that authorities are considering investigating the incident as a hate crime.
“That’s something we are certainly looking into,” he said, according to KCCI.
The Des Moines Register reported that Franklin’s bond was set at $1 million.
Joe Henry, president of Des Moines’ local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens Council, told the Des Moines Register he believed that President Donald Trump’s hardline policies and rhetoric against immigration played a role in the case.
“I think this can all be tracked back to Trump,” Henry said. “People don’t just do this.”