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McLean County Sheriff blasts Black Lives Matter for bailing out looters, other jail inmates

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BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) - McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage is lashing out at the Bloomington-Normal chapter of Black Lives Matter for teaming with another organization to post bond for suspects arrested for looting and other crimes.

According to Sandage, Black Lives Matter and the Chicago Community Bond Fund posted $87,705 to free 13 inmates, including 10 who were arrested for allegedly looting businesses during protests after George Floyd died on Memorial Day while in Minneapolis Police custody.

Speaking Tuesday to the county board's justice committee, Sandage said one of the looting suspects failed to appear in court after he bonded out.

"He was the driver of a vehicle that when they were trying to flee a business they looted, attempted to hit a Bloomington Police officer that was on foot," the sheriff said.

According to Sandage, another looting suspect had been free just three days when he called in a fake hostage incident to Bloomington Police. He now faces a felony charge for making the false report.

"It's kind of disheartening," the sheriff said.

"A lot of good police work went into arresting those people who were intent on damaging businesses in our community and stealing from them," said Sandage.

The sheriff said he would have preferred to see the organizations which posted the bond to instead donate the money to local social service agencies like the Boys & Girls Club.

One of the local leaders of Black Lives Matter, Ky Ajayi, said the sheriff should offer to donate to those causes the money it earns from charging fees for inmates making phone calls or conducting video conferences with family and friends.

Ajayi noted the sheriff in his comments to the committee didn't mention the freed inmates are presumed innocent because they have yet to stand trial.

"He's already tried and convicted them," said Ajayi.

He said Black Lives Matter objects to the cash bail system because "poor black and brown people" can't afford to come up with bond money.

Howard Packowitz

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