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Bloomington leaders condemn attack of IU student from Carmel

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Local leaders are speaking out after what’s being called a racially motivated attack on an Asian American woman.

The 18-year-old Indiana University student from Carmel was attacked as she exited a Bloomington Transit bus on Wednesday.

“This is a girl who is from our hometown, but the person assumed she was from China. That means she can just hurt her,” said the president of the Asian-American Alliance, Rupal Thanawala. The alliance is based in Carmel.

Bloomington police charged 56-year-old Billie Davis with battery and attempted murder. Police say the attack on the student was unprovoked.

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton issued a statement Saturday that said, in part, “Following the brutal attack of a member of our community, I want to state categorically that here in the city of Bloomington we deplore any form of racism and discrimination, especially hate based violence. This behavior is not acceptable and will be dealt with accordingly.”

The Indiana University vice president for diversity, James Winbush, tweeted on Friday, “No one should face harassments or violence due to their background, ethnicity, or heritage. Instead, the Bloomington and IU communities are stronger because of the vast diversity of identities and perspectives that make up our campus and community culture.”

Thanawala said, “Corporate leaders, education leaders, educational institutes, leaders in the Statehouse, the City Council, everyone has to say that.”

Thanawala also says, although Asians have been targets of hate crimes for years, these crimes are more frequent and so is the rhetoric around them. “And with the pandemic, there has been a narration that COVID was brought here by the Chinese.”

She also called on state leaders to strengthen the existing hate crime law passed in 2019.

Anyone with information about the stabbing was asked to contact Bloomington Police Department Detective Rob Shrake at 812-349-3352.

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