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Police Issuing Tickets In West Ridge Wedding That Flouted Stay At Home Order

The wedding drew strong rebukes from neighborhood leaders. Now, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has weighed in and police are taking action.

A wedding held in West Ridge during the coronavirus outbreak has been condemned by community leaders.
Screengrab via Youtube
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WEST RIDGE — Chicago Police will cite people involved in the West Ridge wedding that spilled into the streets and violated the state’s stay at home order.

The wedding — held April 23 in the 6800 block of North Francisco Avenue — was meant to be a small, private gathering in a West Ridge backyard, but neighbors and well-wishers joined en masse, sources told Block Club. Video of the wedding showed crowds gathering in the home’s front yard and in the street and people dancing to loud music.

Police were called to the wedding and asked the crowd to disperse, officials said. Now, the department is in the process of citing people who were involved, said spokesman Luis Agostini.

It was unclear it the citations had been issued as of Thursday morning.

“While officers are provided with enforcement discretion in certain aspects, enforcement of the statewide stay at home order is expected to be universal, regardless of neighborhood, community or district,” Agostini said in a statement. “The department will continue communicating the universal approach to enforcement to district leadership throughout the city.”

The citations in the West Ridge gathering come after a nationwide outcry over a party in Galewood, where a viral video showed revelers packed into a home.

The incident drew the admonishment of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other leaders, while also leading to a discussion over the disparities in enforcement of the stay at home order.

Notably, the West Side party was comprised mostly of Black Chicagoans and its host was cited earlier this week, while the West Ridge wedding was attended by a largely white audience.

Lightfoot on Wednesday said the gatherings should be treated “exactly the same.”

“We can’t tolerate it anywhere,” Lightfoot said. “It’s not just the Black Millennials. It’s a problem wherever it rears its head. We’re gonna move decisively to, again, help educate but, where necessary, take action and give citations to the people who are responsible.”

The West Ridge wedding was also harshly criticized by Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) and by local religious leaders. The Jewish Orthodox wedding was held as the community is suffering disproportionately from the local coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter to West Ridge’s Orthodox population, the Chicago Rabbinical Council and Agudath Israel of Illinois scolded those that gathered at the wedding and urged neighbors to stay indoors.

“This was an unjustifiable and dangerous error,” the letter reads. “This celebration was an egregious breach of those [public safety] standards. It was the first such breach, and we are committed to ensuring that it will be the last.”

West Ridge had the city’s largest cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases in early April. Since then, the Far North Side neighborhood has been eclipsed by a number of South and West side neighborhoods with more confirmed cases. As of Thursday, West Ridge’s 60645 ZIP code has 600 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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