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Overnight Protest Activity:  End of Day Questions & Answers

June 29, 2024 -- Below is a statement the City issued following the overnight protest in a residential neighborhood on June 29, 2024, followed by questions and answers. The City appreciates that this event was frightening and offensive to community members. We understand that a protest occurring in a residential neighborhood during early morning hours is disturbing to residents. Your safety is the City’s priority. We want to assure you that we are monitoring the situation and have an active plan in place to address another incident to the fullest extent of the law.

The City remains in close contact with law enforcement partners throughout the North Shore, Lake County, and at the state and federal levels. The Police Department continues to monitor developments in our area and throughout the region.

The City has also been in contact with representatives of the ADL.

The City encourages community members to report concerning behaviors to the public safety non-emergency line at 847.432.7730.

Individuals with additional questions are encouraged to email the City of Highland Park at cityhp@cityhpil.com. 

June 29, 2024 Overnight Protest Activity in Residential Neighborhood

At 2:43 AM on Saturday, June 29, 2024, dispatch at the City of Highland Park Police Department received a noise complaint of people shouting in the vicinity of Woodland Rd. Officers arrived on scene at 2:47 AM. Officers observed approximately 40 protestors gathered in the public right-of-way. Protestors carried banners and shouted pro-Palestinian and antisemitic chants using loudspeakers and drums. Officers immediately began de-escalation and dispersal of the crowd.

Officers immediately followed procedure for the safe management of a crowd of this size, establishing a perimeter around the protesting group to ensure the safety of neighbors in the area who were outside. Officers communicated with the event organizer and provided information about City regulations regarding noise and safe assembly. At 3 AM, officers requested additional units to assist with site management and coordinate an immediate and safe dispersal. By 3:15 AM, all protestors had departed the scene. Officers then remained on scene for approximately two additional hours to complete the investigation and to ensure the safety of residents. 

Public safety is the City’s top priority. The City can and will strictly enforce all of its public safety, noise, nuisance, and disturbance of the peace ordinances. The City will be conducting additional patrols in neighborhoods and implementing a close watch on houses of worship. 

The City unequivocally condemns antisemitism and all acts of hate, standing in solidarity with our Jewish community. This deeply held value is a cornerstone of the City’s Statement Against Hate, available at cityhpil.com.

Questions & Answers

Were any arrests made?
Responding officers were successful in their on-scene efforts to effectively bring the protest to a rapid conclusion within approximately 30 minutes after the first call was received.

In the interest of on-scene security, de-escalation is a priority and always the first step in safely resolving these types of situations without escalating the situation or increasing the probability of protestors’ return to Highland Park in greater numbers.

De-escalation strategies used on Saturday, June 29 included:

  • Establishing a secure perimeter around the protestors to protect the neighbors
  • Requesting backup from additional units 
  • Informing protestors of the ordinance being violated 
  • Encouraging them to disperse voluntarily to avoid citations

As the protestors dispersed voluntarily, no citations were issued. Individuals who violate local ordinances after being warned by law enforcement may receive a citation for the specific violations, ultimately leading to a possible custodial arrest if they do not comply.  

Why doesn’t the City immediately arrest and take into custody people who violate City nuisance ordinances?
Officers make arrests and take people into custody only in response to actions or behaviors identified under state criminal code that rise to the level of misdemeanors or felonies. Had the protestors not immediately complied with police orders and voluntarily dispersed, there may have been actions for which citations could have been issued and arrests made under the state criminal code. 

The City facilitates the safe resolution of tense situations by encouraging compliance through education about City laws. Successfully de-escalating these situations decreases the probability that protestors will return to the area in increased numbers and minimizes attention on the protestors.

If protestors return, under what conditions would arrests be made?
In line with the City’s community-based policing approach, officers will attempt to de-escalate the situation first and attempt to clear the area using peaceful means.

If protestors refuse to comply, officers will pursue other options such as citations and arrests. Not all charges result in offenders being taken into custody; some are citations in the field.

When dealing with volatile situations, crowds, or making arrests, it is imperative for the safety of all to have appropriate law enforcement staffing relative to the size of the crowd. This is important in case the situation escalates. This requires significant coordination from Highland Park units and mutual aid to have a sufficient number of officers on site.

Why did the protest occur in a residential neighborhood?
The protest appeared to be directed at the private residence of United States Representative Brad Schneider in the City of Highland Park.

Why weren’t people arrested for making antisemitic comments?
Reports indicate that protestors chanted antisemitic comments. The City recognizes these comments are deeply disturbing and antithetical to our community values and Statement Against Hate.

The Supreme Court has ruled that distasteful, prejudiced and offensive speech is generally protected by the First Amendment, which means that law enforcement must be cautious to avoid regulating speech, regardless of how offensive they personally feel it is. As a result, officers are directed to focus on maintaining the safety of the greater community. Police work to de-escalate situations before pursuing arrests.

Police officers are authorized to make arrests for hateful speech only when it is elevated to criminal status because specific conditions related to a companion crime is met. Companion crimes include assault, battery or misdemeanor theft among others.

Why is shouting, chanting, and drumming permitted during overnight hours?
It’s not. These disturbances are regulated under the City’s nuisance ordinance, which is handled administratively. Police ordered protestors to stop and disperse. Protestors began to comply immediately and within 30 minutes of police arriving on the scene, protestors had dispersed. 

Are we able to hire more officers?
The City employs 60 sworn law enforcement professionals, in line with staffing levels in comparable communities of similar population and geographic area. In 2023, the City hired three additional police officers. The City continues to evaluate staffing levels to ensure that community needs are met.



Is the City in communication with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office?

Yes, the Mayor, City Manager and Police Chief have been in communication with the City’s Corporation Counsel and the State’s Attorney.