Black Lives Matter | WGLT

Black Lives Matter

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Three crimes, which could be labeled as hate crimes, have been reported near Illinois State University since the Presidential election.

ISU Police Chief Aaron Woodruff says his department is investigating a report of threats to beat up a transgendered person who was on the quad on Sunday.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Chanting "black lives matter" for more than an hour, hundreds of protestors gathered in the ISU Quad in the wake of Donald Trump's election victory.

Student Gene Hoard said they were not happy with President Larry Dietz's appeal for calm in the face of injustice.

Female professor wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirt
Nikita Richardson / NDR Communications

The Black Lives Solidarity Day at Illinois State University started with a campus visit from a Seattle educator a couple of weeks ago and it sparked an effort to join his initiative to raise awareness of the need for systemic changes to guarantee equality. 

Group of 25 sits in a circle on the south side of downtown Bloomington courthouse.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Tears flowed around a Black Lives Matter talking circle in downtown Bloomington Wednesday night as some 25 residents, most of them white, gathered in response to the most recent fatal police shootings of black men --  Keith Scott, a father of seven in Charlotte and Terrance Crutcher in Tulsa.

Creative Commons

For the last half century  the courts have moved to a jurisprudence of law and order instead of one of individual rights.

That's according to Michael Gizzi, an Illinois State University Professor of Criminal Justice Sciences, who spoke with GLT's Charlie Schlenker. Gizzi has co-authored a new book on the fourth amendment to the constitution, the portion of the bill of rights preventing unreasonable searches and seizures so people can be secure in their property and possessions.

On a trip to the west coast of Africa, Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum, a music professor at Illinois State University, was haunted by her visits to dungeons built by slave traders to house captives before shipping them off to America.