Noted cartoonist Milton Knight was kind enough to fill me in on an ugly incident — one that’s become all too common in this Trumpian Era — that occurred a week ago today. I wrote about the incident Thursday and Friday after being tipped off by a loyal Pencillista.
Knight says he was involved in fistfight at the bus stop outside the Kroger at 2nd and College avenues. Knight, who’s lived in Bloomington since last July, wrote about the incident on a social media post dated February 25th, the day it happened:
I was beaten up today. To make a long story short, was waiting for the bus, and a guy was using a one-sided conversation with people to shout NIGGER every two seconds. Went on for 15 minutes. I gave him the finger. He kept screaming NIGGER this and that. I let him have the last SHUT UP NIGGER, but after that he kept going. Soon it was “COME OVER HERE, NIGGER I’LL KICK YOUR ASS” and things like that. I went, and he did. I got in the second punch, but it was endless punches to the head, even after I went down. I was hanging onto his jacket, and he said he couldn’t get up. The cops came. I went to the hospital. Cuts, a broken nose and more. He went to the same hospital; he had busted a fist!! I pressed charges; he went to jail for battery. The police were very nice. It’ll be a string of repairs for me. Soon I am going to die. I can’t take this any more.
Knight tells me the police report on the incident is No. B19-07914.
Pasadena Weekly, an alternative newsweekly, ran a piece on Knight last April. Acc’d’g to writer Andre Coleman, Knight, described as disabled, was being evicted from his rundown Altadena apartment at the time. For his part, Coleman writes, Knight had recently been hospitalized with typhus, a bacterial infection that’s usually prevalent only in squalid slums in poverty-stricken, densely-populated areas of the world. Knight told the reporter he’d been bitten by fleas that live on rats that had infested his neighborhood. Knight told Coleman he almost died from the disease.
Some $5000 was raised by a GoFundMe campaign to benefit Knight, Coleman wrote. (Knight’s GoFundMe page has raised $16,896 as of this morning.) Three months later, Knight landed in Bloomington.
Knight was born in 1962 and began drawing pictures at the age of two. He has told numerous sources he suffered from severe physical abuse at the hands of his alcoholic father, so much so that he now lives with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He went to school at the Nassau County Cultural Arts Center in Syosset, New York, and Hofstra University. In 1979, he started selling drawings and comics to nationally-distributed publications such as the Village Voice, the National Lampoon, High Times, Heavy Metal, and others. His drawings adorned T-shirts, greeting cards, theatrical posters, CD covers, and more. His style has been described as reminiscent of the Golden Age of Comics (1930s through the mid-1950s). In the ’90s, Knight worked as a TV cartoon animator for Disney, MGM, Warner Bros., HBO, and others. After moving to California in 1991, Knight also taught at the Colonnade Art Gallery & Studio.
Last month, Knight’s work was featured in a group show at the Dimensions Gallery at Artisan Alley here in Bloomington.
If Knight’s recounting of the incident is accurate, the man who punched him up is likely mentally troubled. Still, it’s jarring news to those of us who believe we live in a safe bubble here in progressive Bloomington. I hope we get to enjoy Milton’s company and work for a long time to come.