Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, citing threats against her and her family, defended a police presence outside her Northwest Side home where protesters are being blocked.
"This is a different time like no other and I'm not going to make any excuses for the fact that, given the threats that I personally receive, given the threats to my home and my family, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that they are protected," Lightfoot said during an unrelated press conference Thursday. "I make no apologies whatsoever for that. We are living in very different times and I've seen the threats that have come in, and I have an obligation to keep my home, my wife, my 12-year-old, and my neighbors safe. The deployments that are there are there when they are necessary - it's not a 24-hour thing and I think that residents of the 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."
Lightfoot declined to give specifics on the threats she said she has received, but said "every single day... there is something that pops up."
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown noted that "protesting in neighborhoods is not legal," referencing a law that declares residential picketing "inappropriate in our society."
According to that legislation people "have the right to quiet enjoyment of their homes; that the stability of community and family life cannot be maintained unless the right to privacy and a sense of security and peace in the home are respected and encouraged."
Brown and Lightfoot echoed that claim.
"I've talked to my fellow mayors across the country and seeing the kind of things that [protests] have been done to them and their family members... I'm not going to have that happen," Lightfoot said. "That's not what my wife and my child signed up for. It's not what my neighbors signed up for. We have a right in our home to live in peace, just as every resident in our city does, and we're going to take the actions that are necessary."
"We have to prepare for what we've seen. You know, one thing I really try to do is I try to accept people when they show me who they are. These people embedded in these protests have shown us they're violent. They're violent in our downtown, they're violent in our neighborhoods and they're violent at the mayor's house. And so we have to protect, we're sworn to protect people from violence, and we're gonna do a job," Brown said.
The Chicago Tribune, which first reported the residential protest restrictions, reports area residents have at times been forced to show ID to access Lightfoot's Logan Square block and recently, dozens of protesters were turned away while attempting to march to the mayor's home.
"They call it like Fort Lori and I totally agree with that. It's Fort Lori," said neighbor Emma Frost told NBC 5.
Brown noted that despite the law prohibiting such protests, "we give some a little bit of wiggle room."
"What we try to do is err on the side of first amendment rights," Brown said. "And so we give some a little bit of wiggle room there, we compromise, except for the embedded violence we've seen. We have to accept that that's a reality today. It's unprecedented that you would embed violent offenders in a peaceful protest but that's what's happening. So we're going to protect not only our downtown, our neighborhoods, but the mayor's neighborhood is also included."