Protesters Hurt After Clashes At Pro-Police Rally In Downtown Bloomington
Bloomington, Indiana – Several people were recovering from injuries late Saturday after a pro-police rally in downtown Bloomington turned violent.
At least three people suffered injuries to the head and face after protesters confronted a pro-police rally outside the Monroe County Courthouse.
Medics evacuated at least one person from the square by ambulance. Others were evaluated and treated for minor injuries at the scene.
A man who appeared to be part of the pro-police rally struck Jace Pugh in the head with a baton, Pugh and other witnesses said.
Moments earlier, a woman who was also wielding a baton struck a pro-police demonstrator in the face during an argument, they said.
“There was a grown man on the ‘blue lives matter’ (demonstration) or whatever. And he was punching a 20-year-old girl,” Pugh said, while still bleeding. “I was trying to pull him off of her and some guy came up behind me with a baton.”
The man left immediately “because he didn’t want to get shot,” Pugh said.
Pugh as well as other counter-protesters were carrying weapons and ammunition. Participants in the pro-police rally were also armed.
There were no reports of gunfire, although participants on both sides accused others of loading and cocking weapons as a way to intimidate people.
Rick Mitchell, a pro-police demonstrator, was struck in the face shortly before Pugh.
He was arguing with counter-protesters when a different woman struck him in the face with a baton, witnesses said. The woman who struck Mitchell also fled.
“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe I just got hit. And my glasses were in my hand broken,” Mitchell said, adding that he did not see the person who struck him. Mitchell said that others told him it was a woman carrying a baton.
Medics treated Mitchell at the scene, and he returned to the rally.
Witnesses confirmed both Pugh’s and Mitchell’s accounts of the incidents, which occurred seconds apart during confrontations just south of the courthouse.
At least one other counter-demonstrator was injured in the face during the same incident. And a different pro-police demonstrator left the square in an ambulance.
Bloomington Police arrived shortly after fighting broke out and began interviewing people, including Pugh and Mitchell. Police officers on the scene declined to comment on injuries or potential crimes. Medics also declined to comment.
In a separate incident, a driver turning onto Walnut Street failed to stop even though protesters were standing in the way. The driver of the white SUV continued as one person was standing in front of the vehicle and another climbed on the hood.
Medics treated the person who was briefly on the hood at the scene.
The vehicle departed.
Police briefly closed one block of the intersection as they investigated.
The Bloomington Police and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Saturday.
In July, Bloomington police arrested the driver of a car that sped into protesters on the same block during a rally against racism and police violence.
Most participants on both sides remained peaceful throughout Saturday’s event.
As confrontations erupted nearby, Nick Cross held a “thin blue line” flag — a version of the American flag with a blue stripe running under the stars.
“It’s not really a protest,” Cross said of the rally. “We’re just here to support the police and just show that we’re here. People that want to defund the police aren’t the only ones that are vocal. And a lot of us are peaceful.”
Cross said he was disappointed in some of the participants, but he didn’t think they represented most of the people there.
“For the most part, everyone here has been very nice and supportive. I can’t wait to come back again to support the police,” he said.