‘Fort Lori’: Chicago police ban protests on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s block, order arrests for anyone who won’t leave

Police block the street to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Logan Square home while protesters rally on July 23, 2020. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

By GREGORY PRATTMEGAN CREPEAU and JEREMY GORNER  |  CHICAGO TRIBUNE

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.

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