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Home Truck Store Tips help identify protesters suspected of damaging the courthouse

Tips help identify protesters suspected of damaging the courthouse

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Tips from the public resulted in police identifying protesters they suspect of damaging the Tippecanoe County Courthouse during the late May 31 gathering, Tippecanoe County Sheriff Bob Goldsmith said.

Those cases are being reviewed by the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office for possible charges, Goldsmith said.

Protesters gathers May 31 around the courthouse and Lafayette City Hall to protest police brutality and the May 25 death of George Floyd, who was in custody of Minneapolis police officers when he died.

During the protests, someone spray painted the limestone walls of the 19th-century building on the Columbia Street side of the courthouse, while others threw rocks or bricks, breaking the glass of some doors and windows.

Police suspect Robert Lee Perkins, 34, of Lafayette, threw an explosive device during the protest. It exploded in front of the Columbia Street entrance.

Perkins was arrested June 5 on suspicion of rioting with a deadly weapon and arson. As of Tuesday, Perkins has not been charged.

Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Patrick Harrington said that case is still under investigation.

Someone in the crowd fired a bullet into the third-floor window, narrowly missing a deputy who was posted on the balcony outside of the courthouse. Goldsmith said they have not yet developed leads on who fired the shot.

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This was the scene Sunday, May 31, 2020, as protesters threw rocks, pavers and an explosive at the Tippecanoe County Courthouse as a rally to protest police brutality turned to chaos.

Lafayette Journal & Courier

Police used tear gas and pepper spray to rout the protesters late May 31.

Four people have been charged from the May 31 protests.

  • Lawrence Simon, 29, of Monticello, was charged June 2 with disorderly conduct.
  • Corbin Whitlock, 29, of Delphi, was charged July 2 with disorderly conduct. 
  • Kyanne Edwards, 18, of Lafayette, was charged June 15 with disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic.
  • Caleb Basting, 21, of Merrillville, was charged June 15 with disorderly conduct, obstructing traffic and criminal mischief.

About 12:50 a.m. June 1, police began receiving alarms about burglaries and looting.

Lafayette police are investigating the looting at Best Buys at the Tippecanoe Mall, Verizon on Promenade Parkway, the east side Walmart and the Tower Liquor Store at Creasy and McCarty lanes.

Prosecutors have charged three people accused of looting.

  • Ethan Russell Hughes, 20, of West Lafayette, was arrested leaving the Best Buys store as police arrived, according to prosecutors. He is charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, burglary, attempted theft, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and rioting. Additionally, he entered a 12-month diversion program in August 2019 for a charge of conversion, and he is still under the court’s authority for that charge.
  • Quentin C. Clark, 37, of Chicago, was arrested  leaving the Best Buys store as police arrived, according to prosecutors. He is charged  with conspiracy to commit burglary, burglary, attempted theft, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and rioting. He faces an additional charge of being an habitual offender because of felony convictions out of Illinois.
  • Franceka Latrice Williams, 22, of Lafayette, was charged June 26 with two counts of burglary, two counts of criminal trespass, conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit theft, rioting and possession of marijuana.

On the evening of June 1, more protesters assembled at the courthouse, resulting in five more people being formally charged.

Sean Vincent Cooke (Photo: Provided/Tippecanoe County Jail)

  • Sean Cooke, 22, of Lafayette, was charged June 15 with criminal recklessness. Prosecutors said Cooke was doing burnouts in his pickup truck near protesters, endangering the crowd, according to court documents.
  • Jermey Dumas, 23, of Chicago, was charged June 15 with resisting law enforcement and obstructing traffic.
  • Nicholas Polezoes, 20, of Williamsport, was charged June 15 with disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic.
  • Kelle Bowster, 46, of Lafayette, was charged June 15 with disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic.
  • Arturo Garcia, 19, of Lafayette, was charged June 15 with disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic.

On June 22, police released surveillance videos from the four stores asking the public for help identifying the looting suspects.

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Anyone who recognizes the people in the videos or photographs is asked to call Lafayette police at 765-807-1200 or the anonymous We Tip Hotline at 800-782-7463.

Reach Ron Wilkins at 765-420-5231 or at rwilkins@jconline.com. Follow on Twitter: @RonWilkins2.

Read or Share this story: https://www.jconline.com/story/news/crime/2020/07/07/lafayette-area-police-investigating-violent-protesters-looters/5389383002/


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