CHAMPAIGN — Champaign police are investigating a weekend incident in which a red truck appeared to make contact with a protester and run over a bike outside a downtown business, according to a video being shared on social media.
In a statement Monday, police acknowledged “social media videos circulating online” following Saturday’s downtown protest but added: “As disturbing as they may be, it is important we have time to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances leading up to the incident and why it happened.”
The incident happened as a group of protesters gathered outside Rogue Barber Co. on Saturday, in the area of Washington and Neil streets. Champaign police Sgt. Ben Newell said officers were told by the owner of a nearby business that protesters were not allowing traffic to pass or the driver of a red truck to leave.
Video appears to show the truck making contact with a protester and running over a bike as the driver left the area. Newell said Saturday that police received no reports of anyone being injured.
“Champaign Police supports civic engagement and our community’s right to peacefully protest and gather,” the department said in its statement Monday.
“Organizers wishing to assemble are requested to notify police in advance so we may help foster a safe environment for participants, pedestrians and motorists. Marches or events that obstruct the public roadway without police coordination can often become extremely dangerous, as experienced on Saturday.”
Rogue Barber Co. and its owner, Michael Long, have been the subject of online criticism in recent days over the shop’s changing policies, which some have criticized as being discriminatory.
On July 17, the business announced in a since-deleted post on its Facebook page that it was now a “private membership traditional barbershop (not unisex) not open to the general public” and would require prospective members to fill out an application.