LOGAN SQUARE — Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday defended the measures she’s taken to guard her Logan Square home from protesters, saying the protection is necessary because she and her family receive threats “every single day.”
Police regularly cordon off Lightfoot’s block with officers and barricades during protests. The Tribune revealed Thursday police leaders have also ordered officers to arrest anyone who refuses to leave — a stark contrast from Lightfoot’s predecessor, Rahm Emanuel, who had to face demonstrations directly in front of his home.
But Lightfoot said she’s governing Chicago during a time of unprecedented events, and there are daily, specific threats to her, her wife and her home.
“This is a different time like no other,” Lightfoot said at an unrelated Thursday morning press conference. “I’m not gonna make any excuses for the fact that, given the threats I have personally received, given the threats to my home and my family, I’m gonna do everything I can to make sure they are protected. I make no apologies whatsoever for that.
“We are living in a very different time, and I have seen the threats that come in. I have an obligation to keep my home, my wife, my 12-year-old and my neighbors safe. … I think that residents of this city, understanding the nature of the threats we are receiving on a daily basis, on a daily basis, understand I have a right to make sure my home is secure. We have a right to our home to live in peace.”
In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protests against police brutality and racial injustice near Lightfoot’s Logan Square home have become near-constant.
But protesters have been met again and again with a wall of police officers at the end of Lightfoot’s block at Kimball and Wrightwood avenues.
Supt. David Brown said that while activists and protests might be peaceful, there have been “very violent people” who have worked their way into protests and police need to be prepared for that.
One neighbor dubbed the street “Fort Lori” because “it’s so hard to get in and out,” according to the Tribune.
The Tribune noted Emanuel did not guard his Ravenswood home from protests in the same way — but he also did not see the same level of protests when he was mayor.
Lightfoot on Thursday wouldn’t get into specifics when asked about the threats she and her family receive, but she emphasized the threats are constant.
“I don’t see that it serves any purpose, but every single day there is something that pops up and there are specific threats to my person, to my wife and our home,” she said.
Lightfoot’s experience isn’t an anomaly. Women politicians, particularly women politicians of color, are often the target of violent threats.
A 2016 report surveyed 55 women politicians around the world. More than 40 percent said they had been threatened with rape, beatings, or abduction while in office.
“Women are accessing these positions they’ve long been shut of. … there’s been a reaction to that, they’re challenging traditional patterns of authority in our society,” said Mona Lena Krook, political science professor at Rutgers University and the author of the forthcoming book, “Violence Against Women In Politics.”
“When we talk about a case like Lori, she’s accessing a high level political position, she’s a Black lesbian woman so she’s challenging the vision of who a politician is in these multiple ways.”
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