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Violence reported at Red, White and Blue Rally Saturday in Bloomington



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A man holds a sign reading “Black Lives Matter” at a counter-protest to the Red, White and Blue rally members Aug. 22 on the corner of Kirkwood Avenue. Near halfway into the event the protesters were shouting across Walnut Avenue to counter-protesters. Izzy Myszak

Bloomington Police Department responded to the Red, White and Blue Rally Saturday after receiving calls about three alleged instances of assaults and harassment, BPD Sgt. Benjamin Burns said Sunday morning. No arrests have been made, according to arrest records.

Police showed up around 7:30 p.m. to the rally at Monroe County Courthouse where pro-police protesters clashed with counter-protesters, some wielding "Black Lives Matter" signs. Throughout the night, there were numerous incidents of violence.

The first alleged assault took place at West Kirkwood Avenue and North College Avenue where a man was allegedly struck in the back of the head with an unknown object, police said. The man described a suspect, but no one has been identified.

The second was reported at North College Avenue and West Sixth Street. A man allegedly picked up a rifle, cocked it and threatened someone with it, police said. No suspects were named and both cases were discredited. 

A third reported incident occurred at East University Street and South Woodlawn Avenue. Police said a man stood in the road, allegedly blocking a driver and called him a racial slur. The man was described as wearing cargo shorts and a blue shirt, but there are no photos or videos of the incident and no suspects were named. 

Other incidents of violence occurred throughout the night as well.

Tassie Gniady, a medic working with the Limestone Medic Collective, a volunteer group caring for protestors on both sides, told the IDS at the scene that she encountered violence. Gniady said she stood in front of protesters at the Red, White and Blue Rally who were on motorcycles in an effort to separate them from the Black Lives Matter protesters. Gniady said she was pushed down and yelled at by a protester from the Red, White and Blue Rally. She said she saw the same person kick a Black Lives Matter protester. 

Gnaidy then went to help another Black Lives Matter protester, but the same protester from the Red, White and Blue Rally proceeded to empty Gnaidy’s medic kit and stomp on the contents, she said.

Thomas Byrd, another Black Lives Matter protester, was also hurt. Byrd told the IDS he was helping a Black Lives Matter protester up from the ground when he was punched by an opposing protester. He said he tried to fight back against the opposing protestor in self defense. Byrd left the altercation with a bloody lip.

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