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Protesters cited at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market won't face charges



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Tom Westgard carries a sign Nov. 9 through the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market in protest of Schooner Creek Farm, whose owners have been tied to a white nationalist group. Five protesters cited at the Nov. 9 farmers market will not face charges. Ty Vinson

The five protesters who were cited at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market in November 2019 will not face charges.

The five protesters are part of the Purple Shirt Brigade and were given citations Nov. 9 for trespass and disorderly conduct at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market. Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Erika Oliphant said in a press release Wednesday her office evaluated the facts and circumstances surrounding the citations and decided against pressing charges.

“We have decided that it is appropriate to decline prosecution in this instance,” Oliphant said in the press release.

At the Nov. 9 farmers’ market protests, a group of the Purple Shirt Brigade protesters wore purple, held signs and sang across from the Schooner Creek Farm stand in the middle of the market.

Protesters were attempting to raise community awareness about the owners of Schooner Creek Farm, Sarah Dye and Doug Mackey, who are connected to the white nationalist group American Identity Movement, formerly known as Identity Evropa.

According to a Wednesday statment the Purple Shirt Brigade posted to Facebook, the group believes its behavior was protected by the First Amendment.

"We have a strong belief that it is within our Constitutional rights to express ourselves in this way," the post reads. "We thank the prosecutor for dropping the charges against us as well as her integrity in recognizing such charges would have been unconstitutional."

The group will continue to protest at the market this year, according to its post.

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