Two police officers were killed while sitting in their cars in the Des Moines, Iowa, area between 1:00 and 1:30 a.m. local time Tuesday night.
Police in Des Moines and Urbandale have arrested 46-year-old Scott Michael Greene in the killings, roughly four hours after first announcing that they were searching for him. He turned himself in Wednesday morning.
While the agencies have declined to speculate as to Greene’s immediate motive, the Urbandale man appears to have had an escalating series of encounters with police in the area over the past few years. After his arrest, police there confirmed he was the same Scott Greene who was kicked out of a high school football game this fall after waving a Confederate flag during the national anthem and getting into a confrontation with black fans nearby.
The suspect’s apparent history with local authorities suggests a tension with Greene, who is white, that little resembles the pattern of mistrust and abuse between American police departments and black citizens that has received national attention over the past few years.
Court records show that a Scott Michael Greene, age 46, had numerous minor traffic violations — from speeding, to operating a vehicle without registration, to driving while drinking — going back to 1996.
But his interactions with the law in recent years were more serious. Greene was arrested in April 2014 and charged with interfering with officers who tried to search him for weapons after officers saw what looked like a holster on Greene’s belt. Officers recorded that he was “noncompliant, hostile, combative and made furtive movements toward his pockets,” according to the Des Moines Register.
Two days later, Greene was arrested again, this time for harassing a man at his apartment complex. The records say Greene threatened to kill the man and called him the N-word. He eventually pleaded out a lesser charge, and was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to get a psychological evaluation.
Greene’s most recent run-in with cops doesn’t show up in the court records, however. A YouTube video posted in mid-October posted by Greene shows Urbandale police escorting him out of a high school football game in Urbandale. He had apparently brought a Confederate flag into the stands. Officers repeatedly ask him to leave, tell him he’d created a disturbance in the stands, and threaten to arrest him for trespass if he doesn’t leave.
Greene appeared in the comments section of the video to defend and explain his actions, at one point implying he was responding to protests of the National Anthem at sporting events.
“I was offended by the blacks sitting through our anthem,” one comment reads. “Thousands more whites fought and died for their freedom. However this is not about the Armed forces, they are cop haters.”
One of the two officers allegedly murdered by Greene on Tuesday night was parked outside the same football stadium when he was killed, the Register notes.
Neighbors say Greene had recently put a Trump/Pence 2016 sign in his front yard, according to Des Moines Register reporter Grant Rodgers.
This piece has been updated to reflect official confirmation that the alleged cop killer was the same Scott Greene involved in the Confederate flag incident in October.