The summer of street protests, vandalism and destruction following the death of George Floyd has been tolerated up to now by big city mayors, who have in some cases abandoned their cities’ business districts to the whims of the mob. That may be changing now that the protests have turned personal.
Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto are two of those mayors who tolerated the excesses of the street protests until the mobs came with bullhorns in the middle of the night to their homes. Not surprisingly, that’s when they each decided to draw a line.
In Chicago, protesters have been banned from Mayor Lightfoot’s block, peaceful or not. When asked why only her block is off-limits to the protesters when previous mayors such as Rahm Emanuel were not afforded the same privilege, she replied “This is a different time like no other.”
“I think that residents of this city, understanding the nature of the threats that we are receiving on a daily basis, understand I have a right to make sure that my home is secure,” Lightfoot told the Chicago Tribune. As many as 140 officers have been assigned to guard Lightfoot’s home.
Mayor Peduto is another city leader who suddenly decided there might be reasonable limits to free speech after all, when his neighborhood became the target of street protests from BLM activists who weren’t satisfied with the mayor’s response to their demands in the streets of Pittsburgh.
A group of more than 300 protesters showed up at the mayor’s home recently, using sirens and chanting all night. On the second night, police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
“This crosses a line and cannot be allowed to continue,” Mayor Peduto told reporters.
Ironically, the protesters drawn to his home were there in response to an arrest of another protester last weekend, a police action the mayor criticized at the time.
Lightfoot and Peduto are not the only mayors to see the mobs turn on them, even after offering their support to the protests that have shut down and damaged various cities.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s home was the scene of street protests in June, even though she had marched with the protesters in the streets, and authorized the painting of a large “Black Lives Matter” mural on the pavement in front of the White House. Oakland’s Mayor Libby Schaaf saw her home vandalized with spray paint by protesters demanding she defund the police department there, even after she expressed concern and empathy for the protesters’ demands.
You’ll recall that when Mark and Patricia McCloskey appeared on their own front lawn with guns, ready to defend their property and their lives from a mob that broke into their gated community in St. Louis, they were charged with committing a crime. But they don’t hold public office—they’re just normal folks.
They didn’t realize that only mayors are allowed to defend their homes this year.
Photo from MacLean Center
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