Bickford faces charges of strangulation, battery, minor possession of and consumption of alcohol, intimidation and public intoxication.
Witnesses said Bickford came out of a nearby alley and shouted “white power,” racists statements against African Americans and “kill the police,” according to a police report.
He reportedly approached a woman sitting with her nine-year-old daughter outside Sofra Cafe in Bloomington and tried to strangle her with her headscarf. He forced her head to the table with his right hand and tried to remove her scarf with his left hand, according to the police report. This restricted her breathing.
Inside the cafe, the woman’s husband heard her screaming. He and another man who was walking by the restaurant stopped the suspect and held him on the ground, according to police reports.
The suspect spit on the men and threatened to kill them.
The child was unharmed.
Bloomington Police arrested Bickford at Sofra Cafe. Bickford tried to kick out the windows of the police car and bit an officer’s calf. He was placed under the Monroe County Jail’s custody.
Bickford was released from the Monroe County Jail Oct. 18. His bail was set at $2,000 surety and $500 cash, meaning he paid a total of $705 to be released. His initial hearing is set for Friday.
Bickford was an IU sophomore, according to IU spokesperson Mark Land. He started at IU-Purdue University Indianapolis last fall, before transferring to IU-Bloomington this fall. He studied psychology.
Tuesday Land confirmed Bickford is no longer an IU student following the weekend's events.
Land released a University statement in relation to the case as well.
“This type of abhorrent behavior is not representative of our students, nor of the culture of inclusion and tolerance so many people at the university and in the Bloomington community have worked so hard to foster," the statement read.
The University will follow the BPD investigation, and conduct its own investigation, according to the statement.
Provost Lauren Robel addressed a letter to the IU community Tuesday afternoon.
"Our campus was shocked by a horrifying attack against a member of the Bloomington Muslim community over the weekend," the statement read. "Our community, with one voice, denounces this attack and stands with the victim and her family. Indiana University abhors all violence and will not tolerate it in any form. We all join the outpouring of care and concern for the Muslim members of our community from students, faculty and staff."
Robel said in her statement if any students feel overwhelmed or would like help processing these events, students may see a counselor at IU Counseling and Psychological Services on the fourth floor of the IU Health Center. After-hours phone service is also available, free of charge, at 812-855-5711 (select option 1).
Related content: "Bloomington resident reflects on racially triggered assault."
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