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Council Adjourns Seconds Before Armored Vehicle Protesters Disrupt Meeting

Black Lives Matters Protesters marched from the courthouse lawn to City Council Chambers to protest the purchase of an armored vehicle (Tyler Lake, WFIU/WTIU News)

Dozens of protesters met with a few Bloomington City Council members Wednesday night after attempting to disrupt the meeting to protest the city’s planned purchase of an armored vehicle.

Members of Black Lives Matter Bloomington marched from the courthouse square to city hall in an attempt to shut down the council meeting.

But council members adjourned seconds before the protesters made their way into council chambers.

Most council members left as the protesters entered the room, but Steve Volan, Isabel Piedmont-Smith and Andy Ruff remained.

Council member Steve Volan talks with Black Lives Matters Protesters about an armored vehicle purchase (Tyler Lake, WFIU/WTIU News)

Volan and Piedmont-Smith say they do question the need for an armored vehicle. Ruff says he agrees with the vehicle purchase, but is unhappy with the way Mayor John Hamilton’s administration handled it.

“What I’m trying to do is make a decision as to whether I thing the flawed process was so bad and has done so much damage in the community that it rises above what I think is a legitimate need for the vehicle,” Ruff says.

The demonstrators asked that council members do whatever they can to let the mayor know their misgivings, including calling the mayor after the meeting to reiterate their reservations about the vehicle. Volan said he would make that call to Hamilton after the meeting.

City officials hosted three meetings to hear public comment on the purchase, and accepted public comments online and by phone until March 23. Concerned residents showed up to the Mayor’s office on Monday and Tuesday this week to speak about their concerns in person.

Organizer Vauhxx Booker says Black Lives Matter will interrupt future city council meetings until council members make a concerted effort to better regulate city police.

Council members Volan and Piedmont-Smith said they believe Hamilton will announce the decision about the armored vehicle on Thursday.

City offices are closed on Friday.

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