Black Lives Matter | WGLT

Black Lives Matter

Olivia Butts
Tiffani Jackson / WGLT

A leader with the local Black Lives Matter chapter is urging the Bloomington City Council to allow cannabis sales as a form of reparations for the drug war’s injustices against people of color.

mother with young child
Black Lives Matter BloNo Facebook

The Bloomington-Normal chapter of Black Lives Matter is teaming up with the McLean County Democrats for a Father’s Day bailout fundraising event this weekend.

Meghan Burke with her new book "Colorblind Racism"
Meghan Burke

An Illinois Wesleyan University professor of sociology, Meghan Burke, says fighting against racism requires more than simply ignoring race.

Keith Knight
Keith Knight

Award-winning cartoonist Keith Knight's focus on racial profiling, police brutality, and race relations have many pegging him as a social activist.

ISU football players running
Staff / WGLT

Southern Illinois University (SIU) released a new policy change this week to its code of conduct, banning student athletes, cheerleaders, and spirit members from participating in displays of political activism while in uniform or while performing or competing in official events and activities.

Black Lives Matter Bloomington Normal BNI Facebook

A local Black Lives Matter group is holding a rally Friday at Miller Park to address recent violence in Bloomington-Normal.

Carleigh Gray / WGLT

The Normal Town Council passed a Welcoming Community ordinance Monday that aims to create a new “check and balance” system for police interactions with immigration officials while still adhering to state and federal law.

Associated Press

On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader’s legacy continues to loom large through such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as well as affirmative action hiring and educational practices.

NCHS Students Kneel During Anthem At Homecoming Event

Oct 13, 2017
Liliana Wang

Professional football players aren't the only ones taking a knee during the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Jeff Robertson / Associated Press

The acquittal last week of a white former St. Louis police officer in the shooting death of a 24-year-old African-American suspect has its roots in a 1989 Supreme Court decision.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A Blue Lives Matter rally outside Bloomington City Hall on Monday evening drew about 15 people.

Tari Renner gestures
Staff / WGLT

The final draft of a police citizen review board may leave advocates on both sides of the issue feeling like they have lost something.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Another special meeting Monday on a proposed Bloomington police citizen review board drew more than 100 people who gave, at times, heated input to aldermen.

Five Bloomington City Council members delayed a scheduled vote on Monday to hear more from Police Chief Brendan Heffner.

Colleen Reynolds

The Bloomington City Council is considering establishing a citizen-led police oversight board to receive complaints about police and offer citizens an a review process.  

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A solid majority on the Bloomington City Council favors creating a citizen review board for police complaints.

There's less certainty about one provision community groups are pushing. Alderman Joni Painter said during a council work session it is an absolute no go for her.

Judith Valente / WGLT

Bloomington police, community groups and the City Council have hammered out a draft ordinance for a new citizen-led police oversight board.

Chief Heffner talks to aldermen
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A citizen review board for police will not be a slam dunk in Bloomington, if early council discussion is a guide.

Several Aldermen said they wanted to learn more about the options during a work session on the issue. A couple want to move ahead and have staff draft an ordinance. Alderman David Sage said he sees no case for the panel.

One Couple's Experience Filing A Police Complaint

May 15, 2017
Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

(This story has been edited to include comments from Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner and McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers.) 

What is it like to currently file a complaint of officer misconduct with the Bloomington Police Department?

Sophie Charles and Henry Dick, a couple from West Bloomington, did just that. They said they came away from the experience dissatisfied with the results and reluctant to approach the police in the future.

WGLT

Community support is mounting for an independent, citizen-led review board to monitor the actions of the Bloomington Police Department.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

The local chapter of Black Lives Matter is proposing a citizen-led review board to monitor and weigh in on the actions of the Bloomington Police Department.

Does 'Hot Spot Policing' Work?

Apr 20, 2017
GLT News

At a public forum last December sponsored by Black Lives Matter, several residents of the Bloomington's west side complained that their neighborhood is under a police microscope, with officers making unfair stops and arrests.

Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner says  he sends additional patrols to areas of the city that have a higher rate of incidents. 

The practice is a  common one known as "hot spot policing."  It is used by departments across America in cities both large and small to address high crime areas. But does hot spot policing work?

"Whenever I call it a jazz band I do air quotes. 'Jazz.'" said Disorganizer mandolin player Stefen Robinson, gesturing with the index and middle fingers of both hands over his head.

Why?

"Because I don't even know what that means anymore," continued Robinson. "Are you talking about Miles Davis? Are you talking about Wayne Shorter? Are you talking about Kneebody?

Two young men and one is handcuffing another
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Following a year that saw increased tensions in Bloomington-Normal between police and minorities, an event designed to help community members experience what police officers encounter every day did not appear to attract any more interest than past years. But, the third annual Behind the Badge event at Horton Field House at Illinois State University seemed to leave a lasting impression for those who attended.  The event was sponsored by police agencies, Illinois State University and the Minority and Police Partnership (MAPP).

Woman with mic in red Black Lives Matter shirt
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Two key members of the Minority and Police Partnership are reacting differently to Bloomington police pedestrian stop data analyzed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Illinois Wesleyan University Professor Julie Prandi.

Case Of Handcuffed 10-Year-Old Is Resolved

Mar 22, 2017
Black Lives Matter

Editor's Note: This post includes updated information, 

 The case of a 10-year-old handcuffed by Bloomington police, whose photograph caused controversy on social media, has been resolved for the time being. 

A spokesman for Black Lives Matter said an agreement was reached which allows the 10-year-old to  complete the community service he was supposed to perform in connection with a 2016 charge of destruction of government property.

Black Lives Matter

Note: This post has been revised to reflect new developments.

The mother of a 10-year-old boy who was handcuffed by Bloomington police and photographed in an image that went viral on social media last week is speaking out about the incident.

Anntionnetta Simmons said her son suffers from attention deficit disorder. He was charged last week in West Bloomington with disorderly conduct. His mother said the charge is the result of a misunderstanding.

Staff / WGLT

A proposal to lease a west side home to the Bloomington Police Department (BPD)  for use as a substation is receiving pushback.  

Mid Central Community Action

Despite forming barely two months ago, the Bloomington-Normal chapter of Black Lives Matter has already publicly voiced concerns about how the Bloomington police department polices especially west side neighborhoods, and about a proposed police substation at 828 W. Jefferson street.

Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner agreed to a few changes requested during a standing-room-only, Black Lives Matter forum aimed at holding police accountable for strategies it says have unfairly targeted blacks and left some residents fearful to even drive the city streets. 

House that is the site of a planned police substation.
City of Bloomington website

The group Black Lives Matter Bloomington-Normal is asking its members to call Bloomington aldermen this weekend to delay a vote on whether to open a police substation on West Jefferson Street. BLM leaders say the community has not been properly engaged and there is no consensus that a substation would be welcome.  

Pages