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Driver accused of running over girl because she ‘was a Mexican’ incompetent for trial

Nicole Poole Franklin

Nicole Poole

POLK COUNTY, Ia. — A judge ruled incompetent for trial a woman accused of hate crimes in the Des Moines area, including intentionally running over a girl she thought was Mexican.

Nicole Poole was charged with assault in violation of individual rights for an incident at a convenience store and with attempted murder.

Police said she intentionally ran over two children with her sport utility vehicle. Both children survived.

The judge ruled Tuesday, Feb. 12 after hearing evidence and arguments on the matter that Poole is suffering from a mental disorder. She ordered state treatment for Poole so she can be restored to competency.

Poole was charged with attempted murder after admitting she intentionally ran over a 14-year-old girl with her car and “made a series of derogatory statements about Latinos,” police said.

And just an hour-and-a-half after that incident, West Des Moines police said she used racist slurs toward a clerk and customers at a West Des Moines convenience store and threw items at the clerk, landing her assault, theft, and public intoxication charges.

Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said footage of the incident showed she intentionally hit the 12-year-old boy, who is black, about an hour before she hit the 14-year-old.

The boy was walking along the curb of a Des Moines apartment parking lot when an SUV jumped the curb, ran over his leg and fled, police reported.

A witness told police the driver of the SUV “gunned its engine” before striking the child, and that she’d seen the driver in the complex before.

The boy’s injuries were minor, police said.

Two more incidents on the same day

The 14-year-old said she was walking to her middle school when Franklin struck her. She was hospitalized for her injuries and returned to school within a week.

“I didn’t do anything,” she told CNN affiliate KCCI. “I’m just a girl just walking to a basketball game.”

About 90 minutes later, police arrested Franklin at a West Des Moines convenience store. She pocketed some items and when a clerk questioned her about stealing, she began yelling racial slurs at him and other customers, West Des Moines police reported.

Officers charged her with assault, theft, and public intoxication. She told officers then that she’d smoked meth within the past five hours, according to the report.

She admitted to hitting the 14-year-old, who CNN has not named because she is a minor, while detectives interviewed her about the incident in the convenience store, the Clive Police Department said.

The crimes were motivated by hate, police say

Clive police were investigating whether Franklin committed a hate crime when she ran over the girl, but Parizek said her motive was clear.

“Looking at the three incidents collectively, the hate-filled motivation is apparent,” he told CNN in an email.

Local authorities denounced Franklin’s crimes.

“There is no place in our community (or any other) for this kind of hatred and violence,” Clive Police Chief Michael Venema said after Franklin was first charged with attempted murder.

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