UPDATED 10:25 p.m. | Authorities say a man on a motorcycle plowed through a crowd of demonstrators Sunday night in downtown Bloomington, sending at least one person to the hospital.
It happened sometime before 7 p.m. as demonstrators walked south on Madison Street, between the McLean County Law and Justice Center complex and Grossinger Motors Arena. An earlier NAACP-sponsored rally outside the Law and Justice Center had wrapped up around 6:15 p.m.
Witnesses told WGLT the motorcycle made it through a Bloomington Police barrier that had stopped traffic on Madison Street, then deliberately tried to drive into people. The demonstrators chased him south until he sped out of downtown.
It was unclear late Sunday whether the motorcyclist had been arrested. Photos circulating on social media appeared to show the suspect—a white man wearing a head scarf or bandana—and his license plate.
The woman hit by the motorcycle was Caiti Hembree, 22, of Bloomington-Normal, said her brother Kyle Hembree and another witness, Kodi Williams. Caiti was coherent after the attack, but had a big tire mark across her abdomen and was bruised up and bleeding from the lip, Kyle and Kodi told WGLT.
Caiti was in stable condition at the hospital later Sunday night, said Kyle.
“What sucks is we can’t be there with her (at the hospital) because of COVID,” he said.
Kyle and his sister were among the demonstrators who have called for an end to racism and police brutality during multiple rallies this weekend in Bloomington. The motorcycle attack happened just after a large NAACP rally at the nearby Law and Justice Center front lawn, attended by hundreds of people.
“It’s bullshit how people get treated by the cops. It’s gone on for too long. And I’m sick and tired of it,” Kyle said.
WGLT saw first responders tending to a second person at the scene. It was unclear if that person was hospitalized too. There was still glass—apparently from the motorcycle—sitting in the middle of Madison Street later Sunday night.
“I turned around. I heard motorcycle revs, and then I saw a man driving a motorcycle weaving in and out of protestors,” said another witness, Tyler Hargis.
Hargis said the motorcycle sped away south over the Center Street bridge.
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