Twitter post by Identity Evropa

An organization calling itself Identity Evropa was captured on video over the weekend hanging a banner on the Ridgeland Avenue overpass of the I-290 Expressway reading “Danger: Sanctuary City Ahead” and featuring skull and crossbones.

Oak Park Police Sergeant Dave Jacobson confirmed in a telephone interview that on Saturday, Feb. 24, at about 11 a.m., police discovered the men attempting to hang a banner on the eastbound side of the overpass.

Jacobson said he did not believe police were called out, but rather that officers happened upon the men.

A CBS2 video shows six men, several of whom covered their faces, complying with officers’ direction to remove the banner.

The banner appears to have been hung at some point, though, because a photo of the sign was posted on Identity Evropa’s Twitter feed. The Twitter post reads “Identity Evropa activists in Chicago dropped a banner today to protest the city’s dangerous sanctuary policies.”

It is unclear if the group was protesting the city of Chicago’s sanctuary city status or Oak Park’s.

Last year the Oak Park Board of Trustees approved a “Welcoming Village Ordinance” that immigration advocates called one of the strongest in the country.  

The video, posted on Sunday, Feb. 25 by CBS2 News, shows six men leaving the area upon the police command.

Jacobson said state law prohibits anyone from hanging signs along the fencing of the expressway or blocking the public way. He said police did not ask the men for identification.

Identity Evropa’s Twitter account has more than 27,000 followers and their tweet of the banner had been re-Tweeted 151 times and received more than 500 “likes” as of Feb. 26 around noon.

The group calls for an end to all immigration on its website and features images of anti-immigration banners its members have displayed at overpasses in other parts of the country. In one post on the group’s “Action Report” a sign identical to the one hung on the Ridgeland Avenue overpass was displayed above a tunnel leading into San Francisco.

Members of Identity Evropa also attended the Conservative Political Action Conference held last week in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

The organization did not immediately respond to an interview request submitted through its online contact form.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that tracks hate groups and other extremist organizations, could not immediately be reached for comment, but the organization has written about Identity Evropa.

In a SPLC article published in September 2017, the organization notes that Identity Evropa was established in 2016 by Nathan Damigo, “a close associate of outspoken white nationalist, Richard Spencer.”

The article states that Identity Evropa is “a self-described ‘generation of awakened Europeans’ who peddle the delusion of white genocide,” adding that the group targets college campuses for recruitment.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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