February 20, 2018

IL Library Evacuated After Officers Use Pepper Spray on Unruly Patron

By LJ Staff

The Bloomington Public Library, IL, was evacuated for 90 minutes on May 18, after police used pepper spray to help subdue an unruly patron. The 6’6″, 300-pound patron, whom Director Matthew Kubiak described as a “regular” who comes in most days to read magazines or work at a computer, was sitting splayed out in a chair at a computer station. A security guard asked him to move to another chair, so the computer could be used by another patron. The man started screaming at the officer, who told staff to call 911. The man then sat back down in the chair, spun it toward the computer, and started randomly hitting the keyboard. Eight police officers arrived quickly, as the police station is across the street. A scuffle ensued; one officer suffered a sprained ankle and another respiratory problems after an officer used pepper spray. Many patrons and staff had already left the library; those remaining were told to leave for 90 minutes so the building could air out. Kubiak said library staff would get more training for “dealing with people in crisis.”