BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton says what is happening at the farmers market is a localized example of what has been seen across the country.
However, he said white supremacy and white nationalism are not welcome in his city.
“We have a conflict based on white supremacy and white nationalism that has prompted, very appropriately, responses that says that has no place here,” said Mayor Hamilton.
Robert Hall, who runs a conservative group in Bloomington, said not all responses have been appropriate.
“The vandalism defacing this historic building is wrong,” said Hall.
Police are still looking for whoever spray painted a message on the side of the Johnson Creamery Building across from the farmers market. The message called the vendor in question a Nazi. Hall also pointed out a protesters’ arrest at Saturday’s Farmer’s Market.
“The lady that was protesting was in the wrong area. She’s allowed to protest over there, but not near the booths," said Hall. "And they were intimidating the vendors.”
Monroe County Chief Deputy Prosecutor David Gohn said after reviewing the case, prosecutors decided charges were not necessary, but he wouldn’t say why. We asked him if he was afraid this would encourage more protesters to disobey police orders at the farmers market, he said he will talk to the city about that issue.
Local attorney Geoffrey Grodner said he witnessed the whole arrest.
“She was peacefully protesting, she wasn’t interfering with anyone,” said Grodner.
He claims it was the people in favor of the vendor who were causing the trouble. He wrote the mayor and police chief about why those people weren’t arrested.
“Clearly, it’s the vendor and the people in support of the vendor, as I observed it on Saturday, that are making the market an unsafe environment,” said Grodner.
The vendor in question told us she’s been receiving threats since 2017. She also said that she has never shared her political views publicly at the market.
But it’s the threats toward the public that have ultimately shut down the Farmers Market for two Saturdays.
“It’s a shame that this caused the farmer’s market to be shut down," said Hall. "A lot of people’s livelihood depends on it. It’s just a shame that the city caved into the protesters.”
The Owen County Farmers Market posted on Facebook that it would be welcoming Bloomington vendors at its event for the time being.
Mayor Hamilton will host a press conference to address the temporary suspension of the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market Wednesday, July 31 at 11:30 a.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall at 401 North Morton Street.