The George Floyd protests have devolved into violent and destructive riots in cities across America as Democratic politicians have carried water for the rioters, insisting they are merely “peaceful protesters” demonstrating against “police brutality.” They have ordered police to stand down in the face of violence and condemned President Trump for sending federal law enforcement to protect the federal courthouse in Portland. Yet many of these leftist politicians are quick to defend their own homes and families from the violence they publicly deny exists. The Chicago police have banned protests of any kind in front of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s residence, for instance.
Lightfoot, who has vocally supported the protesters, defended her double standard in a press conference on Thursday.
“I think that residents of this city, understanding the nature of the threats that we are receiving on a daily basis, on a daily basis, understand I have a right to make sure that my home is secure,” Lightfoot said, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Reporters pressed Lightfoot on the issue at a press conference focused on an unrelated topic. The police ban on protests in front of the mayor’s house surfaced in a July email from then-Shakespeare District Cmdr. Melvin Roman to officers under his command.
“Please be advised that we are no longer allowing (any) protesters across the street from mayors (sic) residence … please make sure every officer in the house knows that if anyone shows up to protest (they) are to be immediately told that it is against the city code and state law to protest on a residential neighborhood,” Roman wrote. “They need to be told to leave immediately.”
Lightfoot’s predecessor, Rahm Emanuel, never enjoyed such protection, while former President Barack Obama’s residence was shut down for everyone except residents after his election in 2008.
The mayor insisted that such comparisons “don’t make sense” amid the George Floyd riots.
“I’m not going to 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 going to do everything I can to make sure they’re protected,” Lightfoot declared. “I make no apologies whatsoever for that.”
Since the order and even before it, Chicago cops have used barricades to repeatedly block protesters from accessing the block around Lightfoot’s residence. In one standoff, police even brought in an armored vehicle to secure the area.
In addition to the police presence on her block, Lightfoot receives 24/7 protection from police, including officers stationed at her residence. Sources told the Tribune that the policing has “sometimes siphoned away resources from the area’s police district … leading to quiet grumbling.”
Chicago law bans protests in residential neighborhoods, but Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown admitted that the cops do not always enforce it. He said the city tries to give “wiggle room” for protesters.
Yet Brown defended the police presence on Lightfoot’s block by citing the fact that peaceful protests have been “hijacked” by agitators. “We have seen very peaceful First Amendment protests for the most part but embedded in each of those protests have been very violent people. And they’re embedded. They put up umbrellas. And they come for a fight,” he said. “So we have to prepare for what we’ve seen.”
He did not explain why other Chicago residents do not enjoy the privilege of having police “prepare for what we’ve seen” by protecting their neighborhoods.
Lightfoot is correct. She does have a “right to make sure that my home is secure.” So do the other residents of Chicago. That’s why they pay taxes to the city to maintain a police force. Tragically, there are activists, agitators, and rioters who want to abolish the police and are willing to turn certain areas of the city into a war zone.
Antifa rioters injured no fewer than 49 police officers in a battle reminiscent of Greek Hoplite warfare in front of a statue of Christopher Columbus in Chicago last month. Portland antifa rioters have spilled into residential neighborhoods in their war on peace. When one man dared ask the rioters why they were making a ruckus in the middle of the night, they threatened to burn down his house.
Residents of America’s cities have the same rights as Lori Lightfoot when it comes to making sure their homes are safe. Yet it seems the leftist politicians who defend the “peaceful protesters” only understand the threat of violence when it lands in their neighborhoods. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was happy to defend the lawless antifa
autonomous zone — sorry, “occupation” — that damaged businesses, violated residents’ rights, fostered violence, and spread the coronavirus, but she proved far less excited when the rioters showed up at her house.
Democrats have applied a disgusting double standard to enable and defend the mass gatherings of George Floyd protesters while simultaneously locking down businesses and churches in the name of fighting the coronavirus pandemic. This policing double standard is similarly odious.
Lori Lightfoot insists, “I have a right to make sure that my home is secure.” She’s right, but she’s not alone. Americans have the right to protect their homes, but Democrats want to defund the police and when citizens turn to self-defense, Democrats want to restrict their gun ownership.
The police exist to keep law and order, and the rioters are not “peaceful protesters.” The rioters pose a threat to law and order, and the police should counter that threat — no matter how close it comes to the mayor’s residence.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.