Indiana Woman Arrested After Driving Into Protesters

An Indiana woman was arrested Wednesday for allegedly driving into protesters in Bloomington on July 6. Two protesters were hurt when she allegedly drove into the crowd just as the rally was ending in front of the Monroe County Courthouse. The woman, 66-year-old Christi Bennett of Scottsburg, was charged with criminal recklessness and leaving the scene of an accident, a Monroe County sheriff's Office jail official told the Indianapolis Star.

Bennett, who has since been released after posting $500 bond, was arrested at a Scottsburg motel, Bloomington Police Department Capt. Ryan Pedigo said. There was a man with her, and he was interviewed by police and released. Bennett did not give a statement to the police. Monroe County First Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Kehr is handling the case and said formal charges have not been filed yet.

Social media videos showed a red Toyota Corolla driving on Walnut Street in Bloomington just as the rally was ending at around 9:30 p.m. on July 6. Pedigo told the Bloomington Herald-Times a 29-year-old woman got in front of the vehicle and put her hands on the car's hood. However, the car continued forward, even while a 35-year-old man held the side of the car. The man and woman fell off the car before it turned right at an intersection. The woman was reportedly knocked unconscious and was taken to IU Health Bloomington Hospital for head injuries.

Geoff Stewart told the Star he was the man hit by the car. He said he and the woman tried to redirect traffic while the crowd left the scene. According to Stewart, the woman asked Bennett to roll down her car window. "Someone asked her where she was trying to go," Stewart wrote in an email. "I did not hear her response, but the person talking to her said 'If you wait just a minute, you be able to go through once everyone has cleared out.'" Stewart believes Bennett's arrest was a "slap on the wrist."

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Before Bennett's arrest, multiple witnesses told the Herald-Times it looked like the driver deliberately drove into the crowd. "All our rallies, all of our marches have been peaceful and these racists keep coming in," Caleb Poer, who spoke at the event, said, adding that there was another incident at a previous social justice rally when a vehicle ran over a Black woman's foot.

There have been protests in Bloomington since Black civil rights activist Vauhxx Booker shared three videos on Facebook, claiming he was the victim of an attempted lynching on July 4. One video shows Booker on his knees, against a tree and surrounded by White people while others demand they release him. One man tries to stop the bystanders from filming the scene. No one has been arrested in the case, and Booker demanded a grand jury be convened. The FBI is investing the case.