By: Keith Klein (Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images )
A large crowd had gathered at the Monroe County Courthouse Monday night to hear from Bloomington resident and County Human Rights Commission member Vauhxx Booker. Booker was the victim of a racially motivated attack by multiple white men at Lake Monroe on July 4th. DNR police who responded to the scene at Lake Monroe say they will be filing a report on the incident with the Monroe County Prosecutor.
Protesters are demanding that Monroe County Prosecutor Erika Oliphant prosecute members of the group who assaulted Booker. They also want the DNR to fire the officers that didn’t arrest the suspects in Booker’s assault.
Monday night’s demonstration ended just after 9 p.m. The crowd was dispersing when a car that appeared to drive into the crowd intentionally. Two members of the crowd seemed to jump on the car to stop it.
The driver, described by witnesses as a woman older than 50, drove her car into the group, one demonstrator was left face down near the crosswalk at 6th Street. The victim appeared to be conscious when an ambulance transported her from the scene. Bystanders have posted vivid cell phone footage of the incident on social media. Police are working to determine the identity of the driver. Multiple witnesses tried to chase after the car to get the license plate number.
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.”
The episode involving Booker as the target of a racist attack at Lake Monroe came the day after another incident that exposed a racist side to the community.
Darwin “Dee” Davis Jr., a Black man, posted a video of himself as he was stopped for questioning, walking in his Bloomington neighborhood at 9 a.m. He was stopped by an off-duty sheriff’s detective, allegedly from Lawrence County.
There were an estimated 400 demonstrators at Monday’s demonstration in Bloomington. Around 150 remained in the Courthouse area where the Alexander Memorial stands until the rally concluded, a little after 9 p.m.
Ten minutes later, as the demonstrators were walking from the rally, a car drove into the crowd. Witnesses said the driver sped up instead of slowing down.
Protesters run after a red car that hit two protesters and carried them several blocks at a high rate of speed before injuring one of them with a concussion. Both were thrown from the moving vehicle.
The driver of a red car struck two protesters near the intersection of 4th and Walnut and proceeded North on Walnut Street at a high rate of speed before turning right on 6th Street, throwing the protesters from the vehicle.
The Bloomington Police Department quickly responded to the scene, and drove down 6th Street looking for the suspect vehicle, but failed to locate it immediately.
There is a GoFundMe for the woman who was carried on the hood of the car for several blocks before falling onto the street.
A lack of donations in Monroe County has forced Wheeler Mission to close its Bloomington Women’s Shelter. Wheeler Mission’s Steve Kerr said on any given night the shelter sees up to 30 women which is less than the number of people they serve at the Bloomington Men’s Shelter. Since the homeless population of men is increasing the Bloomington shelter will, now, be used to serve them. Because of the need for more places for men, Wheeler Mission felt that was their best option for the building. Wheeler Mission has already started to transport some of the women to their shelter in Indianapolis. Women can still go to the Bloomington Men’s shelter to get food and help with services.
The pandemic is causing a nationwide coin shortage, according to the Federal Reserve. Officials say shutdowns of mints because of the pandemic have kept new coins from being minted. “COVID-19 has significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coins,” the statement said. Since March, many businesses have encouraged consumers to use contactless payment systems because of concerns about the spread of the viral infection on cash and credit cards which also kept coins out of circulation.
The pandemic had one pearly white lining this year: fewer shark attacks. From January to June, there were only 18 shark bites confirmed worldwide, down from 24 over the same period in 2019. Seven of this year’s bites were in the United States, two in Florida. Florida had tallied eight bites by June in 2019. This year, experts have confirmed two minor bites. Experts have been documenting the unusual decrease in shark bites. The numbers, so far, are a significant dip downward. Researchers believe they have an answer. With fewer people in the water to bite, shark attacks have dropped, likely because of all the closed beaches and widespread quarantines, experts at the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File concluded.