Woman arrested as driver of car that injured two people after Monday’s demonstration against racism

Two people were injured by the driver of a car after an anti-racism demonstration that took place on the courthouse square in downtown Bloomington on Monday night.

Booking Photo
Booking photo for Christi Bennett, who was arrested for three alleged offenses in connection with the injuries to two people after an anti-racism demonstration Monday night.

In separate press releases on Thursday morning, the city of Bloomington and Bloomington Police Department (BPD) announced that 66-year-old Christi Bennett of Scottsburg, Indiana, has been arrested as the driver.

The Monroe County prosecutor’s office told The Square Beacon late Thursday morning that information on charges is expected to be released sometime late afternoon on Thursday.

Bennett was booked on three alleged offenses: criminal recklessness; leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury; and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury.

What brought out anti-racism demonstrators at 5:30 p.m. on Monday were some events that took place over the weekend. Continue reading “Woman arrested as driver of car that injured two people after Monday’s demonstration against racism”

Demonstrators call on Bloomington, Monroe County electeds for action, not words on racism

On Monday evening at the southeast corner of the Monroe County courthouse in downtown Bloomington, Jennifer Crossley introduced herself to a gathering of around 400 people. She used her community leadership credentials: She’s the chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party.

But she told the group she wasn’t going to talk about that role. “Before I am a leader in this community, I am Black,” she told them.

The demonstration was pulled together on short notice. What brought out demonstrators at 5:30 p.m. on Monday were some events that unfolded over the weekend that showed racism is still deeply rooted in the Bloomington community.

On Sunday, Vauhxx Booker, who is an activist and a member of Monroe County’s human rights commission, posted to Facebook a video showing parts of an incident at Lake Monroe on July 4. The video shows him being held down against a tree trunk by a white man who would not let him go. According to Booker, the man told his comrades several times to “get a noose.”

Signs and chants, “Erika, do your job!” identified one elected official from whom the demonstrators wanted action. They want Monroe County prosecutor Erika Oliphant to prosecute those who assaulted Booker. [Updated at 1:45 p.m. on July 7. The latest word from the prosecutor’s office as of 1:37 p.m. is: “The Indiana Conservation Officers continue to conduct interviews and collect evidence related to this case. They have been providing us with regular updates on the progress of their investigation. We anticipate receiving the case soon. As soon as that happens, we will thoroughly review all of it and determine what charges are appropriate.”] Continue reading “Demonstrators call on Bloomington, Monroe County electeds for action, not words on racism”

Photos: “Enough is Enough”

On Friday, June 5, 2020, a peaceful protest against police brutality, organized by Black student leaders at Indiana University, wound its way from Dunn Meadow westward to the courthouse square. Demonstrators numbered in the thousands. Here’s a mosaic of images from the event, which was promoted with the slogan “Enough is Enough.” (Click on any image to enlarge and start a slideshow through the rest of the images.)

Photos: June 5, 2020

 

Police killing of Black man in Minneapolis sparks protest in Bloomington, Indiana; march and call for action planned for next week by others

cropped 2020-05-29 protest IMG_1084
Protesters take a knee in the middle of College Avenue next to the Monroe County jail on Friday evening and observe “seven minutes of silence.” The seven-minute period was chosen to match early media reports of the timespan during which the Minneapolis police officer had pinned his knee on George Floyd’s neck, which killed the 46-year-old Black man. The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

The killing by Minneapolis police of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, along with other recent police killings of Black men and women, has sparked protests across the country.

Floyd died on May 25 when a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pinned him down with a knee-on-neck hold, an incident that was caught on video. Chauvin, who is white, has been fired and is now charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Locally, the initial reaction played out in the form of a demonstration Friday evening, when a group of around 150 protesters gathered at the southeast corner of the courthouse square in downtown Bloomington. The gathering looks like it was spurred by a more-or-less impromptu call to action on local social media websites.

Protesters eventually moved one block east west from the intersection near the Alexander Memorial, to the corner anchored by The Tap. They later walked two blocks north. They wrapped up the roughly 90 minutes of protest in the middle of College Avenue, across from the Monroe County jail.

An event scheduled for next Friday, June 5, led by Indiana University Black student leaders Selena Drake and Salina Tesfagiorgis, is planned to start at Dunn Meadow, and make its way to the courthouse. Drake is studying law and public policy. Tesfagiorgis is a masters student at the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. Continue reading “Police killing of Black man in Minneapolis sparks protest in Bloomington, Indiana; march and call for action planned for next week by others”