A 31-year-old Bloomington man faces preliminary charges of aggravated assault and battery after allegedly setting off a smoke bomb during a Black Lives Matter demonstration Wednesday night.
Andrew Menssen turned himself into police later Wednesday. Witnesses said the "smoke device" appeared to be a store-bought smoke bomb that emitted an odor but was harmless.
But the incident caused concerns in light of a more serious attack Sunday night, when a motorcyclist allegedly drove into a crowd of demonstrators after an NAACP rally. That person, Marshall R. Blanchard of Bloomington, now faces 17 felony counts including commission of a hate crime.
Both incidents happened very close to the McLean County Law and Justice Center, where demonstrators have gathered for their events over the past four days. They're rallying against racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.
Demonstrators shared photos of the suspect in Wednesday night's smoke-bomb incident all over social media. The McLean County sheriff's office said it "appreciated the public’s help which lead to his arrest."
Menssen faces preliminary charges of aggravated battery in a public place, aggravated assault, and reckless conduct, authorities said. He has not yet been formally charged.
He's expected in court Friday.
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