Evanston, IL – About 150 anti-police protesters from Northwestern University trashed downtown Evanston in the run-up to Election Day and now the city wants the university to pick up the tab for the police overtime caused by the students.
The month of demonstrations was organized by the Northwestern University’s Community Not Cops group and continued on a nightly basis through Nov. 3, WGN reported.
The protests were part of the group’s efforts to abolish or defund the campus police and ban other nearby police departments from campus.
After weeks of mostly-peaceful protests, things turned ugly on Halloween night and continued that way through Election Day, WGN reported.
what a better way to spend your halloween than agitating to get the scariest institution in the world (PIC) abolished. POP OUT. october 31 9:00 pm @ John Evans Alumni Center. All black. Bring an umbrella and a bike. we’re getting spooky👻🎃 pic.twitter.com/aGk23rZEjK
— #nucommunitynotcops (@copsoutofNU) October 30, 2020
Evanston police said the Oct. 31 demonstration quickly went from peaceful protest “to that of intentional destruction.”
Several police officers were injured by violent protesters, including one who suffered an eye injury, WGN reported.
Officers had to deploy pepper spray to disperse the protesters so as “to prevent injury to bystanders and police officers.”
The next day, Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty sent a letter to Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro that said he expected the school to pay to cover the costs of local police response to the antics of its students, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“While this 30-day protest is costing tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, in overtime, which I anticipate NU will cover, I, like you, want to know that these protesters are safe,” Hagerty wrote. “It is always on my mind that the protester is someone’s child, and whether I agree or disagree with their efforts, they deserve to protest safely.”
“Protesters are not helping their cause by putting officers’ safety at risk and defacing and damaging public property, ironically all in a city that, while still very much a work-in-progress, is the first in America to create a reparations fund,” the mayor told the university president, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Hagerty warned that “our residents do not support protesters who are marching through the streets of Evanston at night throwing bricks, stones, or other objects at police officers, shooting fireworks in their direction, and intentionally damaging and defacing public property, all while hiding behind umbrellas and lasers aimed in the eyes of police officers.”
He said he respected the students’ right to protest but that there were other priorities, too.
“Likewise, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the officers who are keeping our sons and daughters safe, as well as protecting the property of our entrepreneurs and business owners,” the mayor continued. “My expectation is that your administration will remind these Northwestern organizers that officers also have families and their safety is as important as the safety of the protesters. Our City will continue to arrest anyone who is seen harming or threatening harm to police officers, as well as damaging or defacing public property.”
Northwestern University spokesman Jon Yates responded with a statement that ignored the mayor’s request.
“University leadership meets on a regular basis with the mayor of Evanston and the city manager, and we anticipate that our upcoming meetings will discuss the protest and a range of topics that impact both Northwestern and Evanston,” Yates wrote. “We will continue to work in close partnership with the city to protect our campus community and our broader Evanston community.”
The protesting students have had their university president in the crosshairs along with the campus police department, according to the Chicago Tribune.
A chaotic protest was held in front of Shapiro’s home in October during which school property was vandalized and spray-painted and a school banner was set ablaze.
After Shapiro sent out a university-wide email condemning the protesters’ behavior and said he was “disgusted” by the students who “chose to disgrace” Northwestern, some student groups accused him of having incited Evanston police to become more aggressive at their rallies, the Chicago Tribune reported.
It wasn’t yet known whether the city and the university had come to some agreement on the payment of officer’s overtime.