Five Issued Citations after Protesting at Bloomington Farmers’ Market

(BLOOMINGTON) – Five protesters with the Purple Shirt Brigade were removed by Bloomington Police officers from the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market and issued trespass and disorderly conduct citations Saturday morning.

Issued citations were Charles Bonds, Forrest Gilmore, Lesamarie Hacker, Ashley Pirani, and Tom Westgard.

"Sissy Unicorn" Gets Citation

Today at the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market, five members of the Purple Shirt Brigade were arrested and released. They received a summons for two misdemeanors: disorderly conduct and trespassing. They were told we would be notified by the prosecutor about a court date. They can’t return to the space for 24 hours. If they do something similar in the future, they will be charged with criminal trespassing and will be booked. The offense was carrying signs into the market and singing too loudly. This a blatant violation of our free speech, and we are outraged at this attack on our rights, especially given the City's stance on the free speech of white supremacists. While the police carried out the arrest, they did so upon the direction of Parks and Recreation. Parks and Recreation employees Leslie Brinson (brinsonl@bloomington.in.gov) and Rebecca Higgins (barrickb@bloomington.in.gov) were responsible for ordering the arrest. The actions of the Parks and Recreation Department have been consistently biased against protesters. There is absolutely no reason or excuse for such one-sided application of the rules. This is wrong. This is not normal. Please call/email Parks and Recreation to let them know that they are violating our First Amendment rights and that this is unacceptable. We also wanted to point out a discrepancy between our arrest and Dr. Cara Cadoo's. All PSB members who were detained were white, and none of us were handcuffed or held after being given a citation. When Dr. Caddoo was arrested, she was handcuffed and held. If the city was interested in fairness, they would leave us alone. However, their hypocritical and unnecessary actions are their own choice, and they directly serve the agenda of the white supremacists in the market. What have they done to fight white supremacy? Nothing. What have they done to keep Sarah Dye from bringing more Neo-Nazis into the market? Nothing. Yet here are some of the things Parks and Recreation have done to protesters:• Denied being able to change vendor rules because of the First Amendment but then changed the signage rules mid-season to disadvantage protesters• Arrested 6 individuals (including Cara Caddoo) for carrying signs in the market• Asking protesters to move when we were not blocking traffic• Touched protesters while moving them• Apologized to Sarah Dye for the disruption caused by the protests• Tried to prevent us from singing along with our busker#purplesshirtbrigade #creativenonviolence #protest #FirstAmendment #boycottschoonercreek #startwearingpurple

Posted by The Purple Shirt Brigade on Saturday, November 9, 2019

Police say the five were holding signs and were asked to leave but refused. The rules at the Farmers’ Market state protestors can only protest in the designated area.

The planned demonstration by the Purple Shirt Brigade involved carrying signs and singing near the Schooner Creek Farm’s vendor stand in the middle of the market. 

The group was protesting Schooner Creek Farm’s owner’s connection to a white nationalist group. They say Sarah Dye and Doug Mackey are connected to the white nationalist group American Identity Movement, formerly known as Identity Evropa. However, at this time, this is only an accusation that has not been substantiated.

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