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Woodland Rd. Neighbor Meeting Summary

July 5, 2024 -- On Sunday, June 30, 2024, a meeting was organized for residents living in the immediate vicinity of the June 29, 2024 overnight protest. City officials including Councilmembers Tony Blumberg and Annette Lidawer, City Manager Ghida Neukirch, Chief of Police Lou Jogmen, Corporation Counsel Steve Elrod, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart, Representative Bob Morgan, and Communications Consultant Alyssa Knobel joined Congressman Brad Schneider at his home. During the meeting, Congressman Schneider and Chief Jogmen provided information about the protest and the subsequent response.

Chief Jogmen affirmed that the City shares the concern and distress of residents who were deeply offended and disturbed by loud drumming, shouting, and antisemitic chants during the protest. These actions were unlawful. However, in the interest of the safety of the neighborhood and the City as a whole, the police on the scene followed the protocol of terminating the protest and disbursing the protesters from the scene as quickly as possible. Approximately 30 minutes after the police arrived on the scene, the protesters departed the protest area outside of Congressman Schneider’s home. Had they not dispersed quickly, then citations would have been issued and arrests made under the state criminal code.

Public safety is the City’s top priority, and the primary objective in addressing protests of this nature is to clear the area as expeditiously as possible without incident. This is particularly relevant given the time of the protest, location in a residential neighborhood, and the potential for avoidable conflict between concerned residents exiting their homes and protestors. Engaging in arrests or issuing citations, especially without the necessary police presence, has the potential for immediate repercussions that could endanger residents and officers.

Chief Jogmen shared information about the strategies police officers use to de-escalate tense situations, aiming to resolve them with minimal conflict and in a timely manner. These strategies, discussed further in the June 29, 2024 Q&A, are best practices and important public safety measures, though they might not always be visible to the public as active efforts to mitigate tension.

Chief Jogmen also discussed how the police response might have changed had protestors not complied with police orders. City Manager Neukirch discussed next steps to continue to address resident concerns, including plans for further conversation, including a staff review of local regulations and policies to be discussed at a future public meeting. Information about the meeting will be posted on the City's website and shared in eNews.