Mayor Scales Back Planned Fines For NATO/G8 Protesters

Updated 01/17/12 – 3:54 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — For the second time since moving to increase fines and restrictions on protests for the upcoming G8 and NATO Summits, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has backed off.

On Tuesday, he eliminated proposals to increase the fines for resisting arrest or obstructing a police officer. He had already agreed to reduce fines and other proposed changes related to city ordinances on public demonstrations.

As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, the Mayor wasn’t even there when the latest changes were revealed at a City Council committee meeting.

Emanuel was out christening a renovated CTA station, letting the aldermen and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy explain the about-face and praise him for it.

Most aldermen didn’t find out about the mayor’s change of mind until Tuesday’s committee hearing, which was well-attended by those upset about the increased fines and tightened restrictions on protests Emanuel originally planned for May’s twin summits.

“A lot of people who were concerned about the package of ordinances were clearly focused on the increase in fines for resisting arrest,” Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said. “Now that reason for opposing the ordinance has been removed.”

But the maneuver didn’t completely satisfy those in the gallery. Several protesters had to be escorted out after disruptions.

Protest organizers suggested there would be resistance if the City Council approves other security measures pushed by the mayor. City Hall is still pushing to give McCarthy the power to deputize police officers from other towns to make arrests here during the summits.

Another change would also give the mayor power to enter into summit-related contracts without city council approval.

Protest organizer Andy Thayer said if the council approves what he calls rights infringing measures, then “all bets are off” – suggesting more intense protests.

But police officials downplayed the protesters’ apparent threat to resist the new security measures, WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports

McCarthy shrugged off Thayer’s comment.

“OK, well, that’s what Mr. Thayer said. I mean, I’m not going to even comment on it,” McCarthy said. “I’m not willing to bet on anything that’s going to happen. What’s going to happen is that we are going to provide a safe environment to the best of our ability.”

The changes from the mayor’s office on Tuesday also did not satisfy all the aldermen who leaned the other way and worried about keeping the peace during summits which have prompted violent demonstrations in other cities.

But in the end, the ordinance sailed through on a voice vote.

“I don’t think it’s gonna be the chaotic scenes that we’ve seen in the past,” McCarthy said. “Law enforcement has gotten smarter and evolved as to how we handle these events over the course of time and that’s why I’m telling you we’re going to be in good shape.”

McCarthy’s confidence, as well as the city’s experience in dealing with the Occupy Chicago protestors might have convinced the mayor that this was another opportunity to win over council members who’d once feared his reign would be a repeat of the Daley years.

“Under Mayor Daley, there was oftentimes, too often, a ‘My way or the highway’ approach where, at some point because of defensiveness or what you, they just shut off any kind of thoughtful input,” Moore said. “And here, I’ve been very pleased with the fact that my input, my suggestions have been taken seriously and some of them have been incorporated into the new amendments.”

For his own part, Emanuel said “I haven’t changed the objective, I’ve listened to them and I’ve made the kinds of changes that are necessary.”

The full City Council considers the new administration powers on Wednesday.

Other measures included in the mayor’s plan are: installing more surveillance cameras; closing parks and beaches until 6 a.m.; increasing parade restrictions; and raising fees for such events.

  • Zatso

    The mayor is showing weakness.

    Cost? Bringing in Barney Fifes to augment our CPD?

    Forget ’68, 2012 is what Chicago will be know for.


  • Afro

    Rahm and all of the democrats are trying to win the hearts of the protestors, right now Rahm is squenting his eyes and holding his breath. I don’t give a rats ass about Rahm or the protestors but I hope they hate him enough to turn all of Chicago inside out and then some. The democrats love this mob but this mob don’t love them they don’t even know what they stand for kinda like the democrats LMAO!

  • Afro

    Heres an illegal imigrant for ya breaking our laws

    Onyango Obama, an illegal immigrant, briefly appeared in Framingham District Court on Thursday

    Read more:

  • City Council Set To Approve Security Plan For NATO/G8 Protests « CBS Chicago

    […] On Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel eliminated earlier proposals that would have increased fines on those… He had already agreed to reduce fines and other proposed changes related to city ordinances on public demonstrations. […]

  • Chicago Mourns Bill of Rights as City Council Rubber-Stamps Rahm’s Protest Ordinance | Occupied Chicago Tribune

    […] Justification for ordinance has relied on a developing narrative that says the Mayor’s proposals have been revised in response to complaints, in an admirable example of compromise and cooperation that contrasts Emanuel favorably with his predecessor Richard Daley. This has been enthusiastically not just by Aldermen who voted “aye” such as Joe Moreno (1st Ward) and Joe Moore (49th) – the latter of whom, to his credit, included in his statement a PDF of the ordinance passed – but also many in mainstream local media. See, for example, the breathless, rapt editorializing from the CBS newsroom at the end of the clip included here. […]

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    […] But before that, Mayor Rahm Emanuel eliminated some proposals that would have increased fines on dem… He also agreed to remove the measure protesters found most objectionable – significantly higher fines for resisting arrest. […]

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