6 Charged in Greenpeace Protest at Chicago's Trump Tower - NBC Chicago

6 Charged in Greenpeace Protest at Chicago's Trump Tower

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    Seven people were arrested after climbing Trump Tower in Chicago and unfurling a banner Friday afternoon, police said. Natalie Martinez reports.

    (Published Friday, July 7, 2017)

    Six people, including four Greenpeace activists, were charged Sunday in connection with a Friday protest at Trump Tower in downtown Chicago, according to police.

    Jeremy Alpert, 43, of Glencoe; Taylor Blevons, 27, of Deerfield; Wendy Jennings, 38, of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and David Khoury, 47, of Leslie, Arkansas, were each charged with one felony count of criminal damage to property and one misdemeanor count of reckless conduct, Chicago police said in a release. 

    (L to R) Jeremy Alpert, Taylor Blevons, David Khoury and Wendy Jennings, each charged with felony criminal damage to property and misdemeanor reckless conduct in connection with a Friday protest at Chicago's Trump Tower.
    Photo credit: Chicago Police

    All four are part of Greenpeace USA and were involved in deploying a massive banner from the building in the 400 block of N. Wabash Ave., a spokesman for the environmental non-profit confirmed.

    Jessica Bryant, 31, and 54-year-old Shirley Sexton, both of the 4900 block of N. Western Ave. in the city’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, were also charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct, according to police. They were not connected to Greenpeace, the organization said. 

    Authorities initially said a fifth woman was taken into custody following Friday’s demonstration, but corrected that report Sunday to confirm that only six people were arrested.

    They were "placed into custody and charged after causing a disturbance and hanging a banner from the 16th floor causing extensive damage to the building," police said.

    Greenpeace USA claimed responsibility for the protest, in which the activists unfurled a 50x35-foot banner from Trump Tower at around 1:30 p.m. Friday. 

    The banner, which featured an image of Earth and the words "Resist," "Defend" and "Greenpeace," could be seen hanging over the Chicago River before police removed it and detained the protesters.

    "Given that the banner was picked up by the wind and caused some property damage, it could have been a large public safety hazard," said Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

    Greenpeace USA’s Twitter and Facebook accounts posted livestreams of the unfurling Friday afternoon, saying in a statement that the action was aimed at resisting the policies of President Donald Trump. 

    "It’s only a few months into Trump’s presidency, yet already he’s managed to threaten our health and our communities and put our planet’s future in danger," said Greenpeace spokesman Dario Parra. "Poor people, immigrants, and communities of color like the one I grew up in here in Chicago will bear the harshest impacts of Trump’s environmental and social policies."

    "This action demonstrates that we will not accept the threats that the Trump administration poses to people here and around the world," Blevons, one of the people charged in connection with the incident, added in the statement.

    "Ignoring the science of climate change and removing us from the Paris Climate Agreement is just another indication that the billionaires who have hijacked our democracy are putting the short term profit of corporations over people and the planet," she continued. "It's time for people everywhere to come together to demand that our government works in our interests, instead of treating us as expendable."

    Citing unfair standards on American businesses and taxpayers, Trump announced in June that the U.S. would no longer be a part of the landmark Paris climate accord, the non-binding 2015 agreement with 196 nations to reduce polluting emissions and combat global warming.

    Shortly after the president's announcement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined several cities and states across the country in signing an executive order to formalize Chicago’s commitment to adopt the agreement’s guidelines on environmental protections.

    Greenpeace has organized several demonstrations against the president’s policies in recent months, including a protest similar to Friday’s in Washington, D.C., following Trump’s inauguration.

    On Jan. 25, seven people scaled a 270-foot crane just blocks from the White House and hoisted a massive banner bearing the word "Resist."

    Greenpeace spokesman Jason Schwartz said Friday that the activists’ message to Chicago was clear.

    "Resist this Trump administration’s environmental and social policies, which are so threatening to our communities and our planet, and defend our communities and our planet," he said.

    Attorney information for the six charged was not immediately available. They were expected to appear in bond court Sunday afternoon. 

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