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Bloomington is purchasing controversial armored truck


Members of Bloomington’s Black Lives Matter arrive at City Hall to protest the Lenco Bearcat G2 armored vehicle. Members of Both BLM and the Young Democratic Socialists chanted through the streets of Bloomington on Wednesday night.  Matt Begala Buy Photos

After seven weeks of protest, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton announced the city will follow through with its armored truck purchase.

Vauhxx Booker, organizer of many Black Lives Matter Bloomington events protesting the Lenco BearCat G2, said the mayor’s announcement was expected.

“I would have been flabbergasted by any other decision,” he said.

The mayor’s 14-page announcement included a few changes to the initial plan for the truck.

At first, Hamilton said the truck would have nine gun ports, but now it will have four.

The truck was proposed as dark blue, but now it will be light gray with the word “RESCUE” displayed alongside the Bloomington Police Department logo. Its controversial battering ram attachment will be stored separately.

Hamilton’s March 29 press release noted the controversy over the purchase of the truck and the legacy of misuse of armored vehicles in other cities nationwide.

It explained how the mayor came to his decision after five public comment sessions, numerous informal meetings, talks with experts and a review of more than 500 online comments.

Bloomington Police Department Chief Mike Diekhoff initially made the announcement at a quiet press conference in early February. According to the release, the planned purchase began without the transparency the city strives to demonstrate.

Booker said this apology is not enough. He said Black Lives Matter will continue to protest the truck.

“Let me make this very clear,” Booker said, “I do not intend for us to get this truck today any more than I did seven weeks ago.”

He said the group plans to occupy every city council event going forward.

Hamilton’s comments focused on how the city needs to protect its officers to the best of its ability if it is going to have a Critical Incident Response Team. He said the truck is the best way to do so.

CIRT is the team Bloomington sends out to high-risk situations, such as those involving active shooters.

The release explained the city has the capacity to disband the team, eliminating the issue of the truck’s purchase, but Hamilton’s statement said he did not think this would be a good idea.

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