A 21-year-old Bloomington man was charged Tuesday with committing a hate crime and aggravated assault after allegedly driving his motorcycle through a crowd of demonstrators on Sunday.
Marshall R. Blanchard faces 17 felony counts related to the hit-and-run incident that injured two people, including hate crimes, aggravated assault, and aggravated battery. The hate crime charges allege Blanchard acted “by reason of the actual or perceived race of a group of individuals.”
Authorities said Blanchard intentionally drove his motorcycle through the crowd soon after the conclusion of a well-attended NAACP rally against racism and police brutality. The crowd was marching south on Madison Street when Blanchard allegedly weaved around a police barrier and drove through the crowd. He was arrested a few hours later by Bloomington Police, after photos of him (and his license plate) circulated widely on social media.
After his arrest Blanchard faced only preliminary charges of reckless conduct, failure to obey a police officer, and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries. State’s Attorney Don Knapp said Monday the charges could be adjusted based on all information available to prosecutors, and that has now happened.
Blanchard is being held on $400,000 bond at the McLean County jail.
We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WGLT will continue to be here for you, keeping you up-to-date with the live, local and trusted news you need. Help ensure WGLT can continue with its in-depth and comprehensive COVID-19 coverage as the situation evolves by making a contribution.