Bloomington sees rise in hate-related incidents

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.- According to the Bloomington Human Rights Commission, the city documented 14 hate-related incidents in the past year. Officials say that number is higher than the incidents documented in years past.

“People in Bloomington tend to think of Bloomington as this very welcoming lovely city, and it is," said Assistant City Attorney Barbara McKinney. "But we need to know these things happen in our community."

According to the report, there were 15 documented incidents in 2012, five in 2013, eight in 2014, and 14 during the past year. Most of the incidents are either reported to the police and then passed on to the Human Rights Commission. There are instances, however, when a victim contacts the commission directly.

The incidents include cases of people who were called racial slurs, had property vandalized with references to their religion, and were attacked based on their sexual orientation. One documented incident also included a Muslim woman who was assaulted outside of a Bloomington cafe by a man who was allegedly shouting "white power" as he tried to pull off her head scarf.

Officials say most incidents are likely not reported.

“I'm sure a lot of them are not reported," said McKinney. "We just know about the ones that come to our attention."

The Commission urges anyone who encounters a hate-related incident to report it to either the Bloomington Police Department or the Bloomington Human Rights Commission.