Bloomington Police don’t plan to release police body camera video of an encounter in which a couple claims they were falsely accused because of their race.
BPD Chief Dan Donath refused to comment on the case, but confirmed the officer involved in the July 11 incident won’t be disciplined.
The department also denied a WGLT Freedom of Information Request to obtain the video. The department said it would only turn over the video to the people involved. The department also indicated no report was filed on the incident because the original complainant didn’t request one.
Art and Camille Taylor claim a BPD officer behaved poorly during an incident involving a neighborhood police report. A resident called police to report a group of white people in a car were driving through the Rollingbrook subdivision neighborhood in southeast Bloomington playing loud music and shouting vulgarities toward those who had pro-Donald Trump signs in their yard. The description was similar to a vehicle in front of the Taylor's home.
The Taylors said the Bloomington Police officer who responded accused them of being behind the incident and suggested the anti-Trump sign in their yard may have been a reason they were possible suspects.
The Taylors considered it a case of “parking while black” and said the officer was unwilling to believe their story. They said the officer was slow to reveal the initial report indicated two or three young white men were in the car.
Police deny that claim. Several people with knowledge of the incident have characterized the case as a misunderstanding.
A neighbor reported pro-Trump signs in their yard had been recently vandalized.
Art Taylor serves on the Bloomington Public Safety and Community Relations Board, a civilian body that reviews complaints against police. Camille Taylor is a retired educator and a social justice advocate.
Art Taylor told WGLT the couple had a “productive” meeting with Donath and City Manager Tim Gleason when they received video footage of the incident and discussed their concerns about the officer’s interrogation techniques.
“We still have concerns that hopefully will be resolved in short order,” Art Taylor said in an email.
He said the police department will prepare a report on the incident before they decide how to proceed.
Not In Our Town released a statement shortly after the incident, calling the incident a “resounding reminder of why diversity and sensitivity training are so important for all, particularly those we entrust with our public safety.”
“We commend Mr. and Mrs. Taylor for standing up and not bowing to intimidation and we stand alongside them,” the group said.
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