Farmers’ market response

In their interactions with Dye and Mackey, Market officials took the following actions:

  • Recorded harassment reports in 2017 from Dye on October 28 and November 4 and 11. 
  • Requested increased police presence in the market after a May 12, 2018 incident that resulted in a physical altercation.
  • Wrote about the incident in the “Market Beet,” noting, “As a contracted farm vendor of the Market, you have agreed to collaborate with each other and the City to help create an environment where all can feel welcome. However, if you feel threatened by individual’s behavior or words, you should call the police.”  
  • In response to the May 2018 incident, market officials added a clause to the vendor contract about creating a “safe and welcoming” environment. Veldman later admitted in a July FMAC meeting that this clause is unenforceable because of the first amendment. 
  • There is no evidence that the Market asked Dye or Mackey about their involvement in white supremacy, even though they were identified in an FBI interview. We believe Market officials ought to have inquired about whether Dye and Mackey had been approached by or cooperated with the FBI. 
  • Knowing that there were allegations of white supremacy in the market, the City should have sent in testers to determine whether customers were being discriminated against. It does not violate anyone’s first amendment rights to investigate possible discrimination against customers, and it would have been a prudent step to protect customer’s rights. 

In short, the Market took several steps to ensure that Dye and Mackey felt protected, and they declined to investigate the allegations of white supremacy against Dye and Mackey. Here is how the Market has interacted with protesters:

  • The Farmers’ Market provided NSFH with an area to set up a tent as well as information about where we could flyer. They waived our booth fee as well. 
  • Market officials and the Mayor have both had several meetings with protest organizers and vendors who feel unsafe at the market. 
  • Veldman received complaints of harassment within the market and referred those complaints to police without following up on them.
  • Veldman approached people flyering in the market and discouraged them from standing within the market territory. 
  • On July 19, “Black bloc” protesters were asked to leave because they were wearing black masks and standing in front of the Schooner Creek Farms’ stand. Despite their appearance, they were non-violent. These activists did not work in coordination with NSFH, and they left without incident.
  • On July 27, officers from Bloomington Police Department arrested Dr. Cara Caddoo for peacefully holding a sign in front of Dye and Mackey’s stand at the request of Paula McDevitt, Parks and Recreation Director. 
  • A white, male member of NSFH came forward in a public social media post claiming they had engaged in a similar protest inside the Market in the recent past that did not result in an arrest. When asked in this context why Dr. Caddoo was arrested, McDevitt declined to respond. 

We believe that Market officials now need to take steps to educate themselves about white supremacy, and should avail themselves of the research materials shared with them by NSFH. Our group includes historians, cultural scholars, social workers, educators, and other members of the community who are highly knowledgeable on the topic of white supremacy. We are united in the belief that the City needs to act swiftly in order to prevent the type of assembly that happened on July 27, and which may still happen. The city needs to investigate harassment, follow up on reports, and read their own reports about conflicts within the market space.  NSFH will do our due diligence in continuing to educate the City and the public about these issues.

Some individuals believe that the protesters are to blame for “inciting” the white supremacists. In reality, these groups are following a well-established pattern of growth and escalation that protesters are attempting to head off. We believe that should action not be taken by the City going forward, it will result in a situation in which more white supremacists’ groups will converge on our Farmers’ Market. We believe Market officials will be held responsible for their inaction should incidents arise after the market reopens. Informing the public is the first step. We also wish the City would voluntarily investigate whether protesters’ rights to due process or free speech were violated by Market officials.