Hundreds of police officers assigned to patrol Chicago’s neighborhoods have been diverted to the downtown to protect city businesses from looters, but the district where Mayor Lori Lightfoot lives still has police guarding it.
Chicago Police Department (CPD) Chief of Patrol Brian McDermott sent a memo to top cops with the subject line “Downtown Deployment of Tactical Teams and Incident Teams,” CWBChicago reported.
Officers ordered to go downtown “will be highly visible. Vehicles will have their [blue] lights activated for the duration of their tour,” McDermott wrote. Officers “will also ensure that they have their helmets, batons, masks (if issued) with them.”
The CPD has also banned protesters from demonstrating on the block where Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) lives, ordering officers to arrest anyone who won’t leave, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“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,'” the paper wrote.
Chicago police have been blocking access to the area using barricades and police in riot gear. Cops have also been containing protests in nearby areas while cutting off their access to Lightfoot’s block.
“I came up with the name ‘Fort Lori’ because it’s so hard to get in and out,” Ron Kaminecki, a 69-year old patent attorney who lives a few houses from Lightfoot, told the paper.
In response to questions from the Tribune, police said state law and the city’s 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.”
Lightfoot told reporters on Thursday that she and her family have been receiving threats daily.
“I think that residents of this city, understanding the nature of the threats that we are receiving on a daily basis, on a daily basis, understand I have a right to make sure that my home is secure,” Lightfoot said.
The mayor would not divulge the threats.
Lightfoot is not the only politician who has banned protests near their own residence. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has allowed protests to occur, but not in his own front yard.
“What I cannot defend is any neighborhood in our city — and their residents and families — being disturbed through the night and morning, and a peaceful protest devolving into unacceptable conduct in which residents are being harassed and threatened. This crosses a line that cannot be allowed to continue, causing those committing crimes against residents to face possible legal consequences for their actions,” Peduto said, according to CBS-Pittsburgh.
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