Look at these evil cops, camped outside the mayor’s house, waiting to stand on her neck as soon as she emerges.
This is pure evil, not to mention an outrage.
The Chicago Police Department has effectively banned protesters from demonstrating on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s block in the Logan Square neighborhood, ordering officers to arrest anyone who refuses to leave, the Tribune has learned.
The directive surfaced in a July email from then-Shakespeare District Commander Melvin Roman to officers under his command. It did not distinguish between the peaceful protesters Lightfoot regularly says she supports and those who might intend to be destructive, but ordered that after a warning is given to demonstrators, “It should be locked down.”
Since the order, and even for a time just prior to its writing, Chicago cops have repeatedly blocked protesters’ access to the block with groups of officers and barricades. Police have often kept protesters contained at the nearby corner of Kimball and Wrightwood avenues, though one standoff between activists and officers last month saw police go as far as bringing in an armored vehicle in case things got out of hand.
Some neighbors in the Logan Square area have complained about the city’s approach to protests around Lightfoot’s house, which at times has included checking residents’ IDs before letting them close. Ron Kaminecki, a 69-year old patent attorney and bike shop owner who lives on Bernard Street a few houses from Lightfoot, said some neighbors have been frustrated by the police presence and barricades.
“I came up with the name ‘Fort Lori’ because it’s so hard to get in and out,” Kaminecki said.
As recently as Friday, dozens of protesters were turned away from the block after trying to march to the mayor’s house in support of local school councils voting Chicago police off their campuses. Barricades can be seen set aside for quick deployment even on days without demonstrations.
In response to questions from the Tribune, police said state law and Chicago’s municipal code prohibit protests in residential areas.
“CPD remains committed to facilitating First Amendment rights, while also protecting public safety. CPD continues to enforce state law and the City’s municipal code regarding public assembly,” police spokeswoman Margaret Huynh said in a statement. “The block is open at this time.”
Asked to list specific instances where the city enforced the residential protest ban aside from demonstrations near Lightfoot’s house, Huynh said, “every situation is evaluated by the size of the protests and the available space” but did not provide any examples.
Some Logan Square residents agreed, criticizing the city’s approach to the protests. Lauren Dean, who lives nearby and emailed the Tribune after an inquiry from the newspaper to residents opposing the handling of demonstrations, said the mayor is trying to avoid hearing public criticism.
“While Lori is on national stages talking about how we need to reform police by creating fewer day-to-day interactions between police and citizens, her own city is not allowed to move through the neighborhood or feel the same kind of safety she is claiming to advocate for nationally,” Dean wrote. “As a neighbor, I find protests and actions near her home significantly less disruptive than her response to the protestors, which only aim to keep her from having to listen to the voices of her constituents.”
It was unclear whether some neighbors might be in favor of a police presence keeping protesters at bay. On the block this week, barricades with the look of French railings sat to the side off Wrightwood Avenue near the house, as one passerby pushed a stroller down Lightfoot’s block and another walked a dog.
Two Chicago police vehicles were parked outside the mayor’s home, across the street from each other.
One of Lightfoot’s neighbors, who said he’s lived on Wrightwood for three years, said he sees no problem with protesters assembling on the block, and doesn’t think the city’s response includes listening to them. At times this summer there have been as many as 50 police officers within two blocks of the mayor’s house, he said..
“The visual of that, I think, could strike a person as kind of chilling,” said the neighbor, who asked not to be identified for privacy reasons. “Seeing such a strong police presence, I would say it can feel intimidating, whether or not it’s intended that way.”
Aside from the expanded police presence to block protesters from reaching her home, Lightfoot already receives 24/7 protection from cops including officers stationed at the residence. The aggressive policing has sometimes siphoned away resources from the area’s police district, some sources with knowledge of the situation said, leading to quiet grumbling.
As mayor, Lightfoot has been especially security conscious. She broke with tradition by hiring former Deputy U.S. Marshal Jim Smith to lead her detail instead of using someone from the Police Department.
Then, earlier this summer, Lightfoot gave him leadership control over the Chicago police officers assigned to guard City Hall and her home.
I don’t understand.
The black mayor who backs Black Lives Matter wants cops in her neighborhood?
Is she insane?
Doesn’t she know about the global anti-black conspiracy by white people?
About how the cops are planning to kill all blacks because they hate the color of the skin?