George Floyd | WGLT

George Floyd

John Milhiser
U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois

It’s not uncommon for the adrenaline to rise when a driver sees flashing red lights in the rearview mirror.  but the recent recurring incidents of officer-involved deaths in the U.S. has put a spotlight on how police handle all encounters with the public.

Speaker at Bandstand
Tiffani Jackson / WGLT

The Black Lives Matter BloNo group held a public meeting Sunday that shared compassion and addressed some of the response to its list of policy demands.

Byron Craig

As violent images of the recent deaths of black citizens proliferate the media, some scholars and activists sense an opportunity to pursue lasting change.

Grid of commissioners

The Normal Human Relations Commission met this week to deliberate on how to make positive changes within the community.

Defund the Police signage
Ragan Clark / AP

Black Lives Matter BloNo said Wednesday it was disappointed in a social media post from the McLean County Democrats that called for reframing the “Defund The Police” debate away from the word defund.

Normal Police HQ
Staff / WGLT

Protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis have evolved into a national discussion about police reform. Some have called for defunding police departments and reinvesting that money in social programs. Others say the unions that represent police officers are themselves the biggest barrier to change.

Raised fist
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal police leaders say many of the reforms being proposed nationally in the wake of George Floyd’s death have already happened here, including a ban on chokeholds and increased emphasis on de-escalation training.

Defund the Police sign
Matt York / AP

Bloomington City Council member Jenn Carrillo says her view of “defund police” is a lot more nuanced than the term implies—but now is the time for the discussion.

Looters exit Target
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Recent looting in Bloomington-Normal and in many states since the death of George Floyd may have something in common with race riots of the 1960s.

Crowds holding signs
Tiffani Jackson / WGLT

More than 200 protesters gathered Monday night at Clearwater Park in east Bloomington and marched through nearby neighborhoods to speak out against racism.

Woman holds her cell phone wearing tee-shirt saying More Love, Love More
Tricia Braid

Heyworth business owner Tricia Braid said she was tired of scrolling through social media feeds and seeing many people doubting the media reports about the military use of tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protestors to clear Lafayette Plaza for the president to have a photo taken with the Bible.

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner and City Councilmember Jenn Carillo.
Breanna Grow / WGLT

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner stressed public safety remains the city’s top priority while pledging to improve law enforcement practices. City Council member Jenn Carrillo advocated for a complete overhaul of police departments.

Police on the steps
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Illinois State University Police Chief Aaron Woodruff received only light applause Monday when he told a crowd in downtown Bloomington that he condemned the Minneapolis cop who killed George Floyd.

Holding up signs
Breanna Grow

For Ky Ajayi, it hasn’t just been a long week. It’s been a long three years.

Georgia Nugent speaking at podium
Illinois Wesleyan University

Some students and alumni at Illinois Wesleyan say the university's delayed and muted response to George Floyd's death and calls for racial justice are the latest examples of what they have seen for years.

Rev. Brigitte Black speaking during virutal vigil

Faith leaders in Bloomington-Normal offered prayers for peace and justice during a virtual vigil Thursday as a show of racial solidarity.

Jeremy Butler

Whether you work in an office, drive a forklift or teach kindergarten, the more confident you are in your training, the better you’ll perform. Confidence can make it more likely you’ll try harder or conquer adversity. A lack of confidence can make you skittish and impair decision-making.

It’s the same with police officers.

Andrew Menssen photo
McLean County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

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.

Justin speaks
Darnysha Mitchell / WGLT

A peaceful demonstration led in part by high school students was interrupted Wednesday when an agitator deployed what authorities called a harmless “smoke device,” in at least the second attempt to intimidate protestors in the past four days.

Justin and Jasmyn
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal organizers are looking to build on the momentum of four straight days of peaceful demonstrations against racism and police brutality. One of their greatest assets is a deep bench of young black leaders who have seized the moment and stepped forward.

Crowd marches
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Whenever an unarmed black man is shot in America, Ahmad Williams of Bloomington thinks about whether he will be next.

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.

Demonstrators hold signs
Tiffani Jackson / WGLT

More than 50 people marched through some of Bloomington’s more affluent neighborhoods Monday calling for justice and unity in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis.

Kohls exterior
Jimmy Beach / Facebook

Most of the people arrested in looting-related incidents Monday and Tuesday in Bloomington-Normal were McLean County residents, according to police and jail records.

Allen Chambers
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

The crowd at Sunday’s racial justice rally in downtown Bloomington was huge and diverse—young and old, black and brown and white, veteran activists and first-timers.

Target store entrance
Ryan Denham / WGLT

UPDATED 3:40 p.m. | Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner said police in Bloomington-Normal have decided against issuing a curfew for now, following the extensive property damage done by looters at several businesses, but he said that could change if signs point to an escalation. 

Looters exit Target
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

UPDATED 2:50 a.m. | Looters rushed into the Target and Walmart stores in Normal early Monday, capping an evening that began with a peaceful protest but soon turned dark.

Demonstrations holding signs at rally
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Protesters shouted down police officials who tried to address a racial justice rally in Bloomington on Sunday, while several speakers said Bloomington-Normal is not immune from racism and that the next black man to die at the hands of a cop could happen here.

UPDATED 10:50 a.m. | Bloomington Police have arrested a 21-year-old man who allegedly drove his motorcycle into a crowd of demonstrators Sunday night in downtown Bloomington, injuring two people.

Don Knapp
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

McLean County's top prosecutor says "what happened in Minneapolis to George Floyd is in (no) way even close to appropriate."