String of vandalism incidents continue overnight

Vandals left a bloodlike substance on the front porch, and in the mail box of the Bloomingtonian journalist Jeremy Hogan overnight, which was discovered in the morning, Wednesday, December 11, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

In a seemingly coordinated attack overnight, vandals smashed windows, placed nails on driveways, and left a bloodlike substance at the entrances to homes and in mailboxes, including that of the Bloomingtonian’s sole employee, Jeremy Hogan.

Hogan’s spouse, Toni Arcuri, discovered a bloodlike substance poured on their home’s wooden porch on the way to work just after 8 a.m., in the Waterman neighborhood. Hogan called the police to make a report.

The police said that a similar bloodlike substance was also left at the home of controversial Indiana University professor Eric Rasmusen, and a balloon containing a similar substance was thrown at the entrance to the Women’s Care Center of Bloomington in the 400 block of South College Avenue.

Joshua Graham, who also lives in the Waterman neighborhood, said the back window of his car was shattered overnight with a brick. He spoke to Hogan after he stopped by to speak to police investigating the incident at Hogan’s. Graham has been a vocal supporter online, and as a customer, of the Schooner Creek Farm. Hogan reached out to Sarah Dye, suspecting the attack on his home might be related to his coverage in The Bloomingtonian, and Dye said she found nails in her driveway and had filed a police report. Schooner Creek Farm has been the subject of protests for several months at the Bloomington Farmers Market, and The Bloomington has covered the issue. Several activist groups, including B Town Antifa, No Space for Hate and the Purple Shirt Brigade, want the city to ban Schooner Creek from the market, but the city has declined to do so, citing the First Amendment rights of the business’s owners, including Dye.

Dye said in similar incidents, her car was covered in a similar bloodlike substance after she had spoken to the Grassroots Conservatives at the Monroe County Library in Ellettsville in September, and she found a similar bloodlike substance in her mailbox in October 2018. She said in that incident,”fascist” was spray-painted on the pavement on her property, and an American flag was broken. She filed a police report with the Brown County Sheriff’s Department.

Hogan suspects the attack on his home might be related to his coverage of the Bloomington Farmers Market, because at least two activists have been following Hogan at various times over the past several months, and have told people not to allow him to photograph them. One of the activists, who has pink hair and a large hunting knife, has cursed at Hogan on more than one occasion at close range. Another one of the activists called Hogan a Nazi while he was covering the market. In another instance, the same activists followed Hogan at Bloomington PRIDE, and told people that he photographs people in public without their permission, and walked toward Hogan as if they were going to run into him, but just missed him by a foot or two. Hogan spoke to the police about the intimidation, and was told the police couldn’t do anything about it unless someone made a threat.

It’s a common practice for journalists to photograph people in public without their permission while covering news events. Hogan often, as a courtesy, attempts to get the permission of people he’s photographing, but in a news situation, it’s not always possible. The First Amendment, and cases decided by the Supreme Court, protect the rights of journalists to do their work in public places.

Around 11:45 a.m., Hogan discovered what appeared to be blood dripping from his closed mailbox. He then saw a postal worker driving a postal vehicle coming to deliver the mail and flagged him down before the worker could open the mailbox. The postal worker called a supervisor, who then called the police, and the police soon arrived at Hogan’s home again.

Police assessed the threat, and decided the mailbox was likely safe to open, and did so. Inside was a burst balloon, which they said was similar to the one filled with the bloodlike substance used against the Women’s Care Center.

Police are currently investigating the series of vandalism incidents. Tampering with a mailbox is a federal crime.

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