BLM protesters block traffic, attack cars at IU-Bloomington

A Black Lives Matter rally Monday at Indiana University resulted in property damage as student protesters turned their ire on motorists while blocking traffic.

According to The Herald-Times, the demonstration by the Black Student Union (BSU) and Students Against State Violence (SASV) student groups was held in response to the Bloomington Police Department’s investigation into the death of Joseph Smedley, a 20 year-old former IU student who went missing in October 2015, and whose body was later found nearby at Griffy Lake.

Though the Bloomington Police Department and the Indiana University campus police suspected no foul play and the coroner ruled Smedley’s death a suicide by drowning, many students complain that they are not satisfied with the extent of the investigation.

At the rally, members of multiple student groups, including SASV and the BSU, spoke on institutionalized racism and police brutality in the black community.

SASV describes itself as “an anti-capitalist student group...building a movement against poverty and the systems that cause it: white supremacy, gender violence, deportation, militarism, policing, and the prison system,” while the BSU states that its mission is “to improve quality of life for Black students” by “raising awareness of these interests through educational and social programs.”

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The Associated Press reports that the rally began peacefully, but devolved into a tense altercation when the protesters created human blockades in front of the East Third Street Bloomington Police Station, preventing locals from passing through.

Multiple attempts by vehicles to drive around the demonstrators via alternate routes were met with angry demonstrators blocking their cars, yelling at the motorists, and even banging on the hoods and doors of their vehicles.

One frustrated driver sought to drive slowly through the crowd of protesters, apparently hoping they would clear a path, but the students merely banged on and shattered a portion of his windshield.

The blockades reportedly lasted around 30 minutes before the activists dispersed, and no arrests were reported. Indiana University officials have not released an official statement on the events.

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