Mayor Steve Hagerty responds to Saturday NUCNC protest


Daily file photo by Evan Robinson-Johnson.

NU students protest in support of police abolition. On Sunday, Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty released a statement responding to the events of Saturday’s protest.

Jacob Fulton, City Editor

After police arrested one Northwestern student and used chemical ammunition against protesters Saturday, Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty wrote an open letter to University President Morton Schapiro addressing the NU Community Not Cops protests and their impact on the city.

The protest was the 20th consecutive day of actions from NUCNC, which is advocating for Northwestern to divest from law enforcement, a goal that includes the abolition of University Police and the severing of ties from the Evanston and Chicago Police Departments. The group began in-person protests on Oct. 12 after demands submitted in a petition to the University with over 8,000 signatures went unanswered for months.

In the release, Hagerty said he supports the rights of student protesters to demonstrate peacefully and believes Evanston is undergoing a re-evaluation of its policing system. However, he said he doesn’t support property damage or “physical attacks against police officers,” which EPD claimed occurred during the Saturday protest. EPD and NUCNC presented conflicting reports on the intent and severity of the altercations in statements and social media accounts.

Medics at the protest told The Daily that law enforcement on the scene utilized pepper spray on protestors and an impact round that appeared to be pepperballs. The NU student who was arrested remained in police custody for approximately six hours.

In a Sunday news release, EPD said the student was detained for allegedly hitting an officer, and was charged with a misdemeanor. However, accounts from protesters paint a different story — organizers said after she stepped on to the sidewalk with her bike and refused to move, she was immediately surrounded by police officers. There, she was thrown to the ground, pinned down and arrested while other officers pushed protesters backwards, they said.

[Read The Daily’s coverage of Saturday’s protest.]

Hagerty said he found the protesters’ issues with the city and its law enforcement “ironic,” citing the city’s reparations fund as reasoning that it is working to support its Black residents. However, many students involved with the protest criticized the statement, saying the reparations fund doesn’t absolve the city from its controversies related to EPD’s treatment of the Black community.

In the letter, Hagerty also wrote that the continued protests have cost the city tens of thousands of dollars — which he expects NU to cover. He also said he expects law enforcement to continue to arrest protestors in cases of escalation.

“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,” Hagerty wrote. “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.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @jacobnfulton

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