A protest escalated to property destruction on the night of Aug. 25, after a group of mostly teenagers assembled outside Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb’s home during a virtual village board meeting where the mayor and trustees voted down a resolution to defund the Oak Park Police Department.
“My family should not be endangered because I’m serving the people,” Abu-Taleb told Wednesday Journal.
The defunding resolution was sponsored by Trustee Arti Walker-Peddakotla, whom Abu-Taleb said organized the protest.
“She’s behind it; I know that,” said Abu-Taleb.
In an email statement, Walker-Peddakotla said that she was not involved in organizing the protest.
At least 100 protesters gathered outside the mayor’s home, demanding the village board pass the resolution to hire fewer officers and reallocate village resources toward social services by 2021. The chanting got louder, and the crowd grew more irritable as the meeting progressed.
Some sat on the mayor’s porch and others went around to his backyard. The protesters reached their boiling point when the board voted 5 to 2 against the defunding measure.
They escalated their vandalism.
After the vote took place, Abu-Taleb became visibly distracted and uncomfortable while giving his comments as protesters banged windows and knocked on doors. Some of the demonstrators chanted, “Come outside!” to the mayor. Abu-Taleb said he heard “pounding” and “stamping.”
Outside in Abu-Taleb’s backyard, protesters reportedly smashed potted plants, tore up tomato cages, overturned patio furniture and threw eggs at the house. They also drew and spray-painted the sidewalks with pictures of hands raising middle fingers and pigs.
One drawing featured a pig and a mallet next to the words “Break the piggy bank” along with multiple instances and iterations of “F— the police.”
Abu-Taleb told Wednesday Journal he was home alone most of the meeting and texted his family not to come home to avoid confrontation with protesters. His wife, he said, came home anyway and at one point was confronted on their front porch by four or five young people, some without masks, who stood inches away from her face.
The protests became so distracting that the board of trustees ended up adjourning the meeting earlier despite having other police reform agenda items to discuss.
The little rats!
Police sat by, in a car a block away. WHOSE DECISION WAS THAT?
More in this very good rundown, including dozens of comments, not all condemnatory of the ugly urchins.