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Bloomington Man Pleads Guilty To Hate Crime In Motorcycle Attack

Man on motorcycle
This photo, provided to WGLT by a demonstrator who witnessed the incident, shows the motorcyclist who allegedly drove into the crowd. Authorities say it was Marshall R. Blanchard of Bloomington.

UPDATED 4:50 p.m. | A Bloomington man has pleaded guilty to a hate crime after riding his motorcycle into a group of protesters during a 2020 protest rally downtown.

Marshall Blanchard, 22, reached a partially negotiated plea agreement with prosecutors on Friday. He was set to go to trial on Monday.

Blanchard pleaded guilty to committing a hate crime (class 4 felony) and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident (Class 2 felony), prosecutors said. In exchange, aggravated battery and aggravated assault charges were dropped.

Blanchard is eligible for up to 14 years in prison when he's sentenced at 1:30 p.m. July 2. Prosecutors agreed to cap their recommendation at seven years as part of the plea.

The incident happened in May 2020. The downtown rally was organized after the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man killed when a police officer pressed his knee on his neck for several minutes.

Witnesses told Bloomington police they saw Blanchard driving at a high rate of speed toward the protesters.

Editor's note: This story has been updated from its original version to correct the amount of prison time Blanchard will face.

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