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McCarthy: Police Don’t Want To Block Wireless Signals During Summits

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Police Supt. Garry McCarthy

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Supt. Garry McCarthy says there is no need to worry about police trying to block social media used by demonstrators expected during the upcoming NATO/G8 summits in May.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) is sponsoring a measure that would bar police from jamming or restricting mobile communications from such sites as Twitter that demonstrators might use during the summits.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Police cut off wireless signals during a crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Egypt, as well as during protests last year in San Francisco.

But McCarthy says Chicago Police do not want to block wireless communications, and is questioning why there even needs to be an ordinance forbidding it.

“Those strategies that police have used in the past are not the type of strategies that we’re going to be using here in Chicago,” McCarthy said. “If there are a number of people who are engaged in criminal activity among the, hopefully, thousands of peaceful demonstrators who just want to articulate their First Amendment right to free speech – which we support – we will go in and extract and arrest people who are committing crimes.”

By contrast, activist groups have been invoking one of the most infamous incidents in Chicago Police history as they call on demonstrators to come to Chicago.

A notice posted earlier this month by the Vancouver-based Adbusters Culturejammers reads in part, “And this time around we’re not going to put up with the kind of police repression that happened during the Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago, 1968 … nor will we abide by any phony restrictions the City of Chicago may want to impose on our first amendment rights.”

Many demonstrators, as well as reporters and passersby, were beaten by Chicago Police officers outside the Democratic National Convention in 1968, in what has been popularly called a “police riot.”

For the NATO/G8 summits, the City Council last month overwhelmingly approved a plan to approve tighter security rules for protests against the summits.

Supt. McCarthy will discuss the upcoming summits and other issues on WBBM Newsradio’s “At Issue,” which airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.

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