Justice for Devonna Walker: A Violent Racist Killed A Young Black Mother

No arrests have been made

Savannah Worley
4 min readJan 22, 2023
A black-and-white photo of a protest with a person holding up a cardbord sign that reads, “Say their names.”
Photo by Kalea Morgan on Unsplash

My friend

has already written about what happened to 29-year-old Devonna Walker previously; however, I wanted to write an article myself to try to spread the story even further. This article will be unmetered and open for everyone to read because I strongly feel as many ears as possible need to hear about this.

Walker was a mother of three, with one of the children being a daughter who is just a few months old. She lived in Cambridge Townhomes in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

On January 2, Walker and a couple of her white neighbors got into an altercation. According to Walker’s family, this wasn’t the first altercation she had with these neighbors. They apparently harassed her and called her racial slurs prior. It is easy to believe these neighbors racially harassed her considering how this altercation went down.

As Walker was exchanging some words with a white woman (with what looked like a pit bull running about freely), a white man walked out the door of one of the apartments and told the white woman to get inside. However, he eventually joined in the altercation himself. It’s obvious they and Walker have verbally fought with each other before.

At one point, the man shouted, “SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU FUCKING N*GGER!”

The woman then turned around and walked toward the door, and Walker, understandably upset, ran towards the woman and knocked her down in front of the door.

This was when the man pulled out a knife and stabbed Walker multiple times in the back. There is no way to tell when or where the man got the knife, or why.

Walker then walked away from the door and eventually collapsed onto the lawn. The dog jumped around her body as a crowd gathered around. The white woman callously told the group Walker was faking her injuries and acting like the dog attacked her, showing absolutely no consideration at all for human life.

The woman and man were detained but later released. There has been no further information on the case since then.

You can view the video below. Be warned, it is extremely graphic.

Some might argue the man had justification for stabbing Walker because she charged at the woman. However, Walker had no weapon. But the man did for some reason. I can’t help but wonder what that reason is. Was he prepared to use it all along?

The kneejerk reaction to say, “Well, she attacked first, so he had a right to do what he did!” is something I call the “stand your ground mentality.”

We Americans have a penchant for violence. We find it acceptable to bring a gun to a fistfight, or a knife. We’re not for fighting fairly; we want to win no matter the cost, even if it costs a mother’s life. We want to kill first and ask questions later. Questions like, “Why would he shout racial slurs at her like that?” or “Why did he have a knife?” or “Why were the women arguing in the first place? Was it worth a stabbing?”

We’re not for reducing violence — we’re for promoting it. This is what “stand your ground” laws do. Iowa is a “stand your ground” state. Most “stand your ground” laws dictate when someone “feels” threatened, or when they have a reasonable “belief” they are being threatened, it’s acceptable to do whatever they feel they have to do to “defend themselves,” even if that means killing. This is what justified Travon Martin’s killing at the hands of George Zimmerman.

It makes me wonder, would this man and woman have felt threatened if Walker were a white woman? I doubt it. Only racist cowards shout racial slurs.

And that’s precisely why this stabbing wasn’t justified. It wasn’t self-defense. It was a race-based killing.

Devonna Walker was Rosalyn Morris’ cousin. Rosalyn told me when she was little, she remembered holding Devonna when she was a baby. She had big, beautiful eyes. Devonna’s family described her as outgoing and bubbly. It sounds like we lost a good person, a young mother, to a vicious, racist killer who is still on the loose.

There is no word yet as to whether charges will be pressed. It’s quite possible they will try to justify the stabbing as “self-defense,” even though it wasn’t.

2020 was three years ago. The Black Lives Matter movement seems to have significantly slowed down since then. However, that certainly doesn’t mean fewer Black people are being murdered. Devonna is one of many. Getting justice for her will bring us one step closer to getting justice for all.

A collage featuring a picture of Devonna Walker, the Cambridge Townhomes, and a news clipping
A collage featuring a picture of Devonna Walker, the Cambridge Townhomes, and a news clipping

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Savannah Worley

Essayist who writes about social justice, racism, and mental health | she/her | Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/skworley