“A man and his megaphone” did not silence Mayor John Hamilton’s state of the city address. About 70 supporters from Black Lives Matter did. Caroline Anders' article doesn’t mention Vauhxx Booker’s network of support until the last few lines of writing. It also fails to emphasize the reasons for the interruption, instead focusing on the disorder of the meeting itself.
The Bloomington Police Department has purchased an armored vehicle and, in doing so, has militarized its police force. I emailed Hamilton to express my disdain at this decision and was invited to attend a “community discussion” to air my concerns. That community discussion was held at noon on a Tuesday two days before the State of the City address. After the decision to purchase the vehicle was already made, Hamilton did not encourage public discourse.
The $225,000 cost of the vehicle could have been used toward alleviating pervasive homelessness and addiction through low-barrier housing programs, treatment centers, extending shelter services and much more — but that money has instead been allocated to increase police power. The utilization of an armored vehicle will undoubtedly target people of color, queer, disabled, poor and otherwise hyper-policed people. Our mayor and city council’s discomfort during a city meeting is a small price to pay compared to the promise of further persecution and intimidation of already underserved groups.
Bloomington: please contact Mayor Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org to express your concern about the militarization of BPD.
Karlie Thomas-junior at IU.