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Police, Protesters Already Planning For G8/NATO Summits In May

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A sign carried by protesters planning demonstrations at the G8 and NATO summits in Chicago in 2012. The protesters went to City Hall on Nov. 16, 2011, to discuss permits for their planned demonstrations. (Credit: CBS)

A sign carried by protesters planning demonstrations at the G8 and NATO summits in Chicago in 2012. The protesters went to City Hall on Nov. 16, 2011, to discuss permits for their planned demonstrations. (Credit: CBS)

Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – It could be one of those “be careful what you wish for” stories. Bringing the G8 and NATO summits to Chicago next spring was one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first major coups when he took office, or so he thought.

Protest leaders came to City Hall on Wednesday, demanding city officials stop threatening them and start cooperating.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine has the inside story of what the city’s doing to prepare for the twin summits and the challenges they face.

When G8 leaders met in Scotland in 2005 and when the World Trade Organization came to Seattle in 1999, protesters came out in force and clashed with police.

The history has been of significant disruption,” said William Bratton, chairman of international security giant Kroll and a former police commissioner of Boston, New York City and Los Angeles

Bill Bratton, now chairman of international security giant Kroll.

“What they try to do is usually provoke the police to overreact, because that provides the visuals,” Bratton said. “And that’s where the training has already begun at the Chicago P.D., about how to deal with that type of provocation.”

The Police Department has been working with the National Special Security Event Steering Committee, which held its first overall planning meeting last month at Secret Service headquarters in Chicago.

The executive committee is co-chaired by the Secret Service and Chicago Police.

There are 24 subcommittees, which deal with areas including air security, motorcades, VIP protection, explosive devices and civil disturbances.

Think the “Occupy Chicago” folks who organized a 10-plus-hour sit-in at City Hall on Tuesday were a problem for police and city officials? Think again.

Former Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis said, “You’ve got the major leaguers of protesters that usually attend those things and I think it’s very critical for the city to start preparing right now.”

Some of those protesters were at City Hall on Wednesday to talk about permits for next May’s planned demonstrations; already doing some serious saber rattling.

They accused Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and other city officials of threatening protesters.

“I’m not threatening anybody. The fact is, we will be ready for any contingency. We hope for the best. We have to expect the worst. That’s what emergency response is supposed to do,” McCarthy said. “We’ve proven that we can can interact and protect the First Amendment rights of protestors, while at the same time protecting the public safety. … and, you know, I’m satisfied we’re gonna be able to do it again.”

Chicago FOP President Mike Shields said the protests could expose the police manpower shortage he’s complained about.

“We can’t stop 14-year-olds from shooting each other or packs of 15-year-olds from coming down and robbing people of their iPods,” Shields said. “What’s going to happen when there’s a large G8 Summit? There’s a definite potential for disaster here.”

But McCarthy reiterated that police will “plan for every contingency” for the protests.

“We will figure out the logistics; make this happen in a safe fashion for everybody in the city of Chicago … and whoever comes here to protest,” McCarthy said.

The steering committee is looking to the APEC conference President Barack Obama recently attended in Hawaii for security guidance.

Now that the APEC conference has wrapped up, planning for the G8 and NATO summits, now exactly six months away, will really kick into high gear.

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