Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot defended banning protesters from her block, saying Thursday that she has received threats against her and her family.
“I think that residents of this city, understanding the nature of the threats that we are receiving on a daily basis … understand that I have a right to make sure that my home is secure,” the mayor told reporters Thursday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Police could not cite instances where Lightfoot’s predecessor, Rahm Emanuel, had his home repeatedly blocked off from protesters, the Tribune reported. Lightfoot, who receives 24/7 protection from the police including squad cars stationed at her home, said that comparing the level of protection she receives to previous mayors doesn’t “make any sense” because “this is a different time like no other.”
“I’m not going to make any excuses for the fact that, given the threats I have personally received, given the threats to my home and family, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they’re protected,” the mayor said. “I make no apologies whatsoever for that.”
Officers were ordered to prevent protesters from demonstrating on the block where Lightfoot’s residence is located and told to arrest anyone who wouldn’t leave the area. A July email from former Shakespeare District Commander Melvin Roman said that the area “should be locked down” after a warning was given, according to the Tribune.
Roman’s email didn’t differentiate between peaceful protests and the riots that have erupted in many parts of the country, including in Chicago. (RELATED: Rioters, Looters Hit Chicago After Man Reportedly Hit In Shootout With Police)
Lightfoot has repeatedly endorsed Black Lives Matter protests.
“Hundreds took to the streets yesterday to express their First Amendment right to protest,” Lightfoot said in a July 18 tweet. “I unequivocally support and will always fight for the rights of individuals to peacefully protest on any issue.”
Hundreds took to the streets yesterday to express their First Amendment right to protest. I unequivocally support and will always fight for the rights of individuals to peacefully protest on any issue.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 18, 2020
The mayor has also said that Chicago doesn’t need federal assistance to deal with the ongoing unrest. President Donald Trump ordered 200 federal agents to Chicago to assist local law enforcement, a move that Lightfoot has condemned.
There are laws in Chicago banning residential protests, Lightfoot and Chicago police Superintendent David Brown both noted according to the Tribune. Brown said that the laws are not always enforced, and that “wiggle room” is given for demonstrations.