Protesters vandalized mayor's home as he led board meeting

Backyard garden smashed up, house egged during police reform discussion

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

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.

The mayor told Wednesday Journal that many of the protesters may have had experiences with the police, which spurred them to protest.

"I understand why they want to protest, and I'm all for that," Abu-Taleb said. "But one does not violate other people's rights and civil liberties in order to seek a change."

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.

Trustees Deno Andrews, Simone Boutet, Susan Buchanan, Dan Moroney and Jim Taglia signed a joint statement to Wednesday Journal condemning the acts of vandalism. Walker-Peddakotla's name was not on the statement.

"We call on the young people who damaged the mayor's property to step forward and take responsibility for your actions," the statement reads. "Political advocacy does not give you the right to commit crimes."

Progress on police reform initiatives up for discussion that night, the trustees wrote, "have been stalled" because of the protests. According to the statement, the rally was organized by members of activist groups Freedom to Thrive Oak Park and Revolutionary Oak Park Youth League (ROYAL).

The trustees also called on the adult organizers of the rally to take responsibility for the role they played and to condemn property damage, vandalism and violence in all forms.

Trustees wrote that protesters discredited the cause and disrupted the democratic process, as well as cost the taxpayers money by acting in a way that required a response from the police and the Public Works Department.

According to the joint statement, protesters damaged more than just property. In

bulleted points, the trustees wrote that the actions of the protesters "disrupted the

democratic process," "discredit the cause," "dissuade people from running for office,"

and "cost the taxpayers money in requiring a police response and a public works

response."

Walker-Peddakotla was asked to participate in the joint condemnation of property damage but refused, Abu-Taleb said.

In an email sent to the board by Walker-Peddakotla, she confirmed she had been asked to participate in the joint condemnation.

"I won't denounce this protest just as I will not denounce the unrest that is happening in Chicago," Walker-Peddakotla wrote. "I will never denounce an oppressed group saying, 'Enough.'"

By not signing the statement, Abu-Taleb said he believes Walker-Peddakotla was condoning the events that took place Aug. 25.

"When you have a trustee who says it's OK to damage people's property," Abu-Taleb said, "the community should know who that trustee is, and it's Arti."

Abu-Taleb also stated that Walker-Peddakotla's decision not to sign was tantamount to an admission of instigating the rally.

"The fact that she did not sign that letter to condemn such action is proof that she's behind it," said the mayor. "If she's not behind it, she needs to come right out and say it."

In her email to the board, Walker-Peddakotla stated she played no part in planning or instigating the rally.

"I was not involved in organizing or planning this protest, and I will not denounce it," the email reads.

Her email also stated that the village board was just as guilty of the disruptive activities attributed to the protesters in the trustees' joint statement. She also marveled at the alacrity with which the board issued their condemnation.

"If only we could be so quick to denounce the damage we are doing to our youth by ignoring their experiences and their pain," she wrote in her email.

Walker-Peddakotla has previously organized with Freedom to Thrive Oak Park, one of the organizations the board believes helped coordinate the rally. Abu-Taleb said Walker-Peddakotla is "proud to say she founded" Freedom to Thrive Oak Park.

"People have the right to thrive, yes," said Abu-Taleb. "But you don't have the right to be on my front porch and to damage my plants and egg my house.You don't have the right to make me not feel safe living in my own home."

There was minimal police presence at the protests. Oak Park Police Chief LaDon Reynolds arrived later in the evening and Commander Shatonya Johnson, in plain clothes, spent time speaking with protesters.

"Once the board meeting was over, we left the house," Abu-Taleb said. "Based on the behavior of the protesters, we were concerned for our safety."

The Abu-Talebs spent the next day salvaging the remains of the garden and cleaning up debris. Abu-Taleb said he remains committed to reforming policing in Oak Park and that he was open to discussing police reform with "anybody, anytime," including the protesters, whom he believes are being misguided.

"They're following bad leaders who are only interested in their own agenda," he said.

A two-man crew from the Oak Park Public Works Department spent two-and-a-half hours Wednesday morning power-washing spray paint and chalk off the public sidewalks and street outside the mayor's home.

Abu-Taleb said he and his family are "grateful for the outpouring of support from so many people that offered to help clean the house, replant the garden, sent texts, flowers and letters of support."

As the mayor of Oak Park, Abu-Taleb said he remains committed to serving the village, evaluating opportunities for reform within the police and doing what he believes to be in the best interest of its citizens.

"People need to feel safe at home," said Abu-Taleb. "And that's why defunding the police will never happen on my watch."

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Reader Comments

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Mick McDonnell from NOT Oak Park  

Posted: September 1st, 2020 2:44 PM

One of the many times I'm soooo glad I don't live in the liberal cesspool that is Oak Park. Well done, all, thanks for making it clear why nobody should ever follow your lead. Too bad the woke are being eaten by the more woke!!

John Sabey from Oak Park  

Posted: September 1st, 2020 9:40 AM

I think the few comments that want to blame Trump, and his bad behavior at times, as the example these teens are following is enabling more of the victim mentality. Maybe kids see their parents getting frustrated and not handling it well. If someone is behaving inappropriately or rudely, use it as a teaching lesson, not an excuse to act the same way or worse. Deflecting blame on Trump only hurts the teens.

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: August 30th, 2020 7:33 PM

Bill, I heard that there were plainclothes police there. These vandals would have liked nothing better than to have a confrontation with the police. The police knew that and outsmarted them.

Bill Thomas  

Posted: August 30th, 2020 4:39 PM

Why is it that the police weren't called during this incident? Did I miss that?

Marlene Scott from Oak Park  

Posted: August 30th, 2020 10:53 AM

Wednesday Journal: Thank you for including the mayor's post-meeting response. I understand and support his view.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 30th, 2020 9:36 AM

Who here has said they're "afraid" of those goofy teens? My personal concern is that their stupid, petulant behavior will harm support for the legitimate social movements.. I believe in progressive politics, which require broad support. Mindless acting out like we saw last week hurts that cause.

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: August 30th, 2020 8:42 AM

It astonishes but does not surprise me that many of the people posting here are more afraid of a group of teenagers who politically tp'd the local mayor's lovely home but NEVER express any fear of the crimes being committed by the criminal gang currently controlling the White House, the Senate and Wall Street. That bunch is daily encouraging mayhem against protestors, has allowed COVID to run rampant in America, devastated voting rights and the social safety net, and rewarded corporations and the rich with obscene tax breaks. THAT is what threatens your way of life, your livelihood, your homes, your schools and your security, not a small group of teens protesting the mistreatment of people of color armed only with courage and chalk and demanding justice.

Chris Weiler  

Posted: August 30th, 2020 3:18 AM

The pen or the sword. Many children are raised with fairy tales... Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, we are all equal, you can always trust a police officer, etc. Especially in OPRF, they are taught to problem solve differences with words, not fists. Trust the process. Believe in justice. Before puberty, many whose skin color is not white begin realizing those were fractured fairy tales, at least for them. They begin to read and hear stories about other people of color who are oppressed or otherwise marginalized. I personally know 2 owners of very large business in Cook County who will interview black people the same as everyone else. But, and I quote, "they will never be offered the job." Although violating Anan's property was not okay, I understand how we arrived here. When looking to avoid taking action, local politicians use soft, misleading terms such as, "we'll consider it" which gives the impression to the community that something has been accomplished. Those who are directly affected by the inaction, get discouraged when no action is taken or real consideration given. Over time, discouragement leads to frustration and disillusionment. This frustration leads some youth who feel they can't get access to the pen, or that those who have the pen refuse to use it, to pick up the only other tool they see available - the sword. Let's factor in a sitting president whose every tweet and speech implies the spirit of the sword is okay. The president, who sets the tone for this country, only demonstrates his ability to instigate, agitate, lash out, be divisive, hostile, rude, uncaring and a bully. The youth have been watching carefully. A president who lashes out like a child whenever he doesn't get what he wants. "Children learn what they live" and "you reap what you sow." You can't have it both ways or cherry pick. What Trump says matters or it doesn't.

Chris Weiler  

Posted: August 30th, 2020 3:16 AM

It's absurdly disingenuous to feign incredulity that the youth chose the sword at this time. This country's history is littered with bloody uprisings/push-back, required just to begin moving the needle for social change. From some youth's perspective, if not for the extreme outrage, violence and destruction, George Floyd might have just been recorded as another black man killed by police, with the DA taking the typical year or more to determine if the officers would be charged. For you regular posters who chime in on all things OP, I have yet to see anywhere near the righteous indignation you have displayed here on this mild property destruction issue, levied on any human rights issues over the past few years. Where was your anger, intolerance, historical references then? Your posts are mostly rooted in how a given issue is going to impact your taxes/property values. And this issue, indirectly is no different. If the mayor can be a victim, any resident can and that's bad for business. Now you care... about your $$. The youth have gotten that message too... you don't value what is most important to them, their lives. They have just communicated to you they don't value what is most important to you, your property, your peace of mind. Perhaps it's time to wake up, recognize the totality of where we are in 2020 and find a new tact.

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: August 29th, 2020 8:13 PM

Me? Butch? Oh, no, Mr. Bill, you're barking up the wrong lilac bush. I'm so gay that immediately after I was born I started redecorating the delivery room and giving the nurse make-up tips. Puh-leeze.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 29th, 2020 7:34 PM

Ohhhh, my! Jeffry! You are SUCH a butch leftist, you are.

Karry Schmidt  

Posted: August 29th, 2020 7:13 PM

had it's social media)? Why not try to show them change can be made through conversation and by breaking bread with people you don't necessarily agree with? I'm not saying this method is 100% effective but as adults we *must* show these "mostly teenagers" a different, more constructive path. Otherwise, we've failed in teaching teens the right way to go about promoting change. Condoning or condemning these actions, arguing through comments on the WDJ is just fueling the fire. Nothing will be solved through these tic for tat comments. OP has always been about trying to be a progressive community. Anan and the community have a chance to grow together from this and be stronger as a village, and I don't see a better opportunity than this to bring people together.

Karry Schmidt  

Posted: August 29th, 2020 7:13 PM

Let me be clear that I do not support the destruction of property nor the threatening behavior this group exhibited (I went to school with John, and it makes me sick to my stomach thinking of the way this group treated his family. They're good people and no one deserves this). With that said, I do understand that this group is trying to make positive change, but I don't agree with the way they went about it. Allow me to offer some food for thought - I call on Anan to invite Arti, Thrive OP & ROYAL to his restaurant(or independent restaurant) for a socially-distant meal and dialogue (maybe invite some of OPs police officers?). I realize that Anan and his family went through a traumatic experience, but this calls for Anan to be the bigger man; a role, I'd argue, that's part of the job description of being mayor. This meal could be covered by the tax payers (it's not like OP doesn't have the money) with any profits resulting in the meal being donated to a charity group of Thrive OP/ROYALs choosing. I'd even go as far as recommending this meal and dialogue be broadcasted on the village news channel so others can tune it, and to even consider doing it on a regular basis. This meal would offer each side a chance to see each other's true colors, which I like to think, in the right setting, are positive and friendly on both sides. At the end of the day we're all human looking for a roof over a head, a meal in our belly and a safe, unprejudiced community to thrive in without having to worry about police brutality. We all want the same thing, we just have different thoughts on ways of getting there and we need to bridge the divide, not elongate it. Anan and the elders of this community need to show these groups that there are other ways to bring forth change. These groups see the destruction going on accross the nation on TV and social media and believe that's the only way to go about protesting. So how can we be surprised that they act this way(if there's any blame to be

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: August 29th, 2020 5:41 PM

The Oak Park Chapter of Pearl Clutchers Anonymous, retreating to their fainting couches because a group of teen activists who stepped on some of the mayor's flowers and chalked his sidewalk are in more real danger from Trumpers who don't and won't wear masks. But God forbid reality should intrude on their mental property.

Jim Bowman  

Posted: August 29th, 2020 3:30 PM

Bill, fine.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 29th, 2020 11:22 AM

Jim, I respect you, so... first. I'll just say that I'll quote anyone I choose. .. .. Second, no one was harder on Sharpton for years than me. But the guy has changed. And he made some moving and wise comments about the need to channel anger into focused purpose. That was my point.

Joyce Siragusa  

Posted: August 29th, 2020 8:09 AM

The uncalled for vandalism is what negates any positive. This now just leaves a negative cloud over this. Sorry - might have been a step in the direction you wanted has now just created two steps back.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 10:11 PM

Hey Jim, we all (or at least most of us) "mellow" with age ... even the ole race baiter himself.

Jim Bowman from 40th Ward  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 9:30 PM

Bill Dwyer, are you kidding? Quoting the inveterate race-baiter and liar Sharpton calling for peaceful protesting? Come on. For openers look at this about this on the Tawana Brawley rape case -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Sharpton#Tawana_Brawley_rape_case

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 7:16 PM

Rumor has it these faux radicals are gathering again at Fox Park.

Janet Haisman from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 5:05 PM

Winifred - this behavior was vandalism on the part of young people, not the Black Lives Matter style of righteously angry but peaceful protests. This is EXACTLY what the current occupant of the White House is hoping will happen so that he can declare that he is the only one to protect his citizens. Keep up the vandalism, and he gets 4 more years in the WH.

Jim Bowman  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 3:36 PM

Nice going, Kevin.

Michael Nevins  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 3:07 PM

Many people have recently commented regarding this issue on various threads. There is nothing I can add to what they have written (it is so wrong on so many levels) - except that I firmly believe/thankful in what the majority have said AND the 5-2 vote by the Village Board regarding this matter. How to stop this type of behavior - before it gets worse? Vote. I will personally attempt to get my neighbors and friends to vote for the candidates who are NOT supporting one particular board member.

Brian Souders  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 2:45 PM

Jenna, Ms Buchanan received electronic and phone threats for things she said in a meeting. Uncalled for, most certainly. Mr Abu-Taleb AND HIS FAMILY had his property occupied, a group banging on home windows and property destroyed. I don't get why one is horrible and the other is totally OK. If I'm disappointed in village leadership It's ool to trash people's houses? Scare their family? Talking about needing to know better.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 2:43 PM

That's the best you can do, Ms. Jacobson? Whine about the WJ not interviewing one of the brats who trespassed on the Village President's property, damaged his belongings and accosted his wife? Really pathetic. Seems to me the writer contacted Walker-Peddakotla, and she didn't have the guts or integrity to take any responsibility for her part.

Brian Souders  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 2:38 PM

For those outraged about the balance of the article (Jenna, Laura), please click to the home page and see the article entitled "Protestors call for defunding police outside mayor's house", posted 24 hours before this one. It views the incident nearly all from the kids' perspective and doesn't mention the property damage, egg throwing, window banging and general intimidation of a volunteer elected official.

Jenna Leving Jacobson  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 2:00 PM

This is irresponsible journalism. Why didn't the author include a statement from any of the protesters or organizers? These are community members who are disappointed in the Village leadership under President Abu-Taleb BECAUSE they don't feel safe. We need to listen to them. Abu-Taleb's comments threaten the safety of his colleague,Trustee Walker-Peddakotla. After the harassment that Trustee Buchanan suffered he should know better.

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 2:00 PM

@Laura, the Trustees (almost) unanimously denounced the actions of the protestors, who had the right to voice their opinion but not to inflict harm on others. Why are you ignoring that inconvenient fact as well? Are you implying that it's ok to harm some if others are being harmed? Here's a letter to the Chicago Trib Editor denouncing the property damage signed by 5 of the 6 Trustees https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/oak-park/ct-oak-letter-tl-0903-20200827-7gahnpp425at7hxtshc6qavm7q-story.html#rt=chartbeat-flt

Laura Brentner  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 1:44 PM

What a terrible article focused entirely on the Abu-Taleb's uninformed opinions. Why are none of the voices of the protestors included in this article? Why are we focusing on the tiny amount of damage to his property and not the serious threat the protestors are acting against? Why are you not highlighting ROYAL and all the work these youth have engaged in? This is all a pointless distraction from addressing the real issues at hand

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 11:44 AM

All the apologists for the, as one person put it, "somewhat damage" to Anan's property would do well to consider what long-time civil Rights leader Al Sharpton said this morning- that the violence and property crime in the wake of Jacob Blake's shooting is simply counter productive. . . Said Sharpton, "?those of us in civil rights think it is tactically hurting the (Blake) family's case because some people will try to transfer that image on to Jacob?" . . So all you petulant juveniles and their supposed adult enablers who conflate criminal trespass and criminal damage to property with social justice need to listen to a guy who's been there, done that for more than 50 years. . . . "I understand the anger," said Sharpton. "But your anger should be directed in a way that you're going to deal with what you're angry about. You cannot let your anger make you (become) like what you're fighting."

Winifred Haun from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 11:03 AM

Wow, Oak Park. Just wow. You consider yourselves to be progressive, and yet you pull out the "law and order" response (do look up the history of that, please...)?? Mayor Anan's response to what happened is very tone deaf and kinda surprising coming from a Leader of "liberal" Oak Park. Here's my wish: that we all take a cold hard look at the totality and nuance of what actually happened, before we start finger waving and calling for arrests. (especially Marlene...) And that we consider what happened in light of the protesters demands, the Black Lives Matter movement, and this moment in history. Of course, I regret that Mayor Anan's property was somewhat damaged. Truly. But, maybe what this situation calls for is cool headed assessment. Perhaps, Anan could talk with the protesters? Or talk with Arti Walker-Peddakotla? Working things out is what our politicians should be doing, right? Not whining and threatening. Unless you want to be like the guy who currently occupies the White House...

Kevin Peppard  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 9:09 AM

What is the "takeaway insight" from all this from the many sides (there are many people in the middle, and this is not binary). In Vietnam, after the battle of the Ia Drang Valley at the start, both the North Vietnamese and Americans walked away confident that they had the solutions. (An Oak Park Lieutenant was the first person killed). Here, the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) lost, but are already claiming a moral victory. Their manipulation of children as "human shields" in this is disgraceful.The next battle will be over the powers of the Citizens Police Oversight Commission, where the SJWs want to give it a Commissar-like role, where political correctness will count more than competency. That was being discussed when the online meeting was broken up by the disorder at Abu-Taleb's home. That change will also fail. What then will be the response by the Children's Crusade (indirectly steered by cynical adults) and by the Police (who are damned if they do and damned if they don't respond)? The actual Children's Crusade ended with the children reaching Marseilles and then being sold into slavery to the Arabs. Furthering my historical analogies, what society had the worst use of political street mobs? The Weimar Republic of Germany, where groups like the Nazis (who started out small), Der Stahlhelm (WWI vets) and Communists fought it out. The police largely stayed on the sidelines. Look how well that worked out

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 8:57 AM

Here's a letter to the Chicago Trib Editor denouncing the property damage signed by 5 of the 6 Trustees https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/oak-park/ct-oak-letter-tl-0903-20200827-7gahnpp425at7hxtshc6qavm7q-story.html#rt=chartbeat-flt

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 8:56 AM

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/oak-park/ct-oak-letter-tl-0903-20200827-7gahnpp425at7hxtshc6qavm7q-story.html#rt=chartbeat-flt

Judith Warren  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 7:48 AM

I don't think it was the best idea for the group to go into the backyard of the village president. But gosh I wish all the country's "thugs" just carried sidewalk chalk. These were not thugs. They are frustrated teenage citizens that want their voices heard. I'm just glad our kids try to work through the democratic process as opposed to the real teenage thugs carrying long arms and murdering a couple people. Oh, and can village works come clean up a few chalk hopscotch markings I've seen around town?

Mary Kay O'Grady  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 7:22 AM

What Marlene Scott said.

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 1:39 AM

"How this group of thugs expect to effect change is beyond me..." I was just about to agree when I realized he wasn't talking about the Republican Party convention.

Renee Pleshar  

Posted: August 28th, 2020 12:17 AM

I agree that the vandalism and destruction was wrong, cannot be condoned, and the persons (and leaders) involved should be held accountable in an appropriate manner. The young people have an absolute right to protest but that doesn't include some of the behaviors exhibited. However, people on this chain who advocated violence or extreme consequences are seriously wrong as well. Assuming they are adults, I feel they are even more culpable for their statements.. Let us all express our opinions in a civil and balanced manner and set the standard of behavior that we expect from others.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 10:09 PM

Yes Kitty I too thank Ms. Sheridan for her detailed report ... especially since I was so critical of her earlier reporting regarding lack of details and specifics. Thank you.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 9:52 PM

Arti Walker-Peddakotla barely made it past another candidate for the third and final trustee seat in 2019. I suggest she enjoy her soap box the next 2 1/2 years- In one key way, she's just like the man she supposedly despises, but acts a lot like ("I will not denounce it" is right out of Trump's playbook) The next few years will be challenging times for municipal government, and that hard work will need to be done by not just caring but serious and competent people, not dogmatic dilettantes like Walker-Peddakotla and pissed off juveniles.

Kitty Conklin  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 9:17 PM

Thank you Stacey Sheridan for reporting just what occurred during Tuesday night's board meeting at the Mayor's home in the most impartial way I've seen yet from the WJ. But after seeing many photos today on social media of damage at his home, I have to ask why it's reported that the "protestors reportedly smashed..." Pictures speak 1000 words. Protestors did smash. Trustee Walker-Peddakotla is complicit. As she said on June 8, 2020 on her Twitter account: "Progress is breaking the bonds, removing funding from that system, and reimagining a world without that oppressive system. #Defund Police." Stop with the lies Trustee.

Richard Fischer from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 9:11 PM

How this group of thugs expect to effect change is beyond me. They expect to defund the police department when their illegal actions only call for the funding to be increased. A strong police force is needed to control mob action.

Valerie Ursini from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 9:06 PM

"Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 8:42 PM

"I do not believe that picketing for the sole purpose of imposing psychological harm on a family in the shelter of their home is constitutionally protected." Justice JP Stevens, 1988 (in a dissenting opinion).

John H. Wilharm III  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 8:33 PM

How can this be happening in the OP? We are about love and tolerance. We're all in this together!

William Kunz  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 8:28 PM

Here Here on shaking the tree on our 'corporate mayor.' I suppose if the protesters were initiating yet another high rise on Lake Street our 'mayor' would be all for it. I am white, 65 years old, and retired with seven grandchildren. I only wish I knew where and when these citizens of change were conducting this terribly cogent action. Where can I get an ARTI lawn sign...

William Kunz  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 8:28 PM

Here Here on shaking the tree on our 'corporate mayor.' I suppose if the protesters were initiating yet another high rise on Lake Street our 'mayor' would be all for it. I am white, 65 years old, and retired with seven grandchildren. I only wish I knew where and when these citizens of change were conducting this terribly cogent action. Where can I get an ARTI lawn sign...

William Kunz  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 8:28 PM

Here Here on shaking the tree on our 'corporate mayor.' I suppose if the protesters were initiating yet another high rise on Lake Street our 'mayor' would be all for it. I am white, 65 years old, and retired with seven grandchildren. I only wish I knew where and when these citizens of change were conducting this terribly cogent action. Where can I get an ARTI lawn sign...

Bruce Kline  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 7:36 PM

Well if there was any doubt in the past, now we know - beyond question - who Trustee Walker-Peddakotla really is and what she stands for.

Manuel J Garcia from Saint Louis  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 5:43 PM

It appears to me these vandals (not protestors) were handled with kid gloves (no pun intended). As long as this happens they will continue to do harassment like this in the future . The police should have been allowed to do their jobs, not try to be nice guys in a situation like this Nothing is gained by anyone being allowed to do lawlessness. Wake up people.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 5:23 PM

What these juvenile morons do not or cannot grasp is that their illegal and petulant behavior quite likely closed minds more, rather than open them, and alienated people open to their concerns. You express ideas; you act out rage. Of course, the first requires intelligence.

Mary Darnall from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 5:06 PM

No issue is easy to solve. All sides must be heard, obviously. One problem I have seen in Oak Park is demonstrators screaming and booing (whether in Village Hall or virtually) if anyone has an opinion other than their own. If they don't get what they want they assume everyone else is wrong and act out. No, it is not the democratic way. Sorry, Arti, any hope I had that you really wanted to solve the problems in this village were bashed by your statement that you will never say "enough" to those who protest. You are being irresponsible. As a Village Trustee you are in a unique position to make a difference and bring all voices to the table. You failed. Your failure to acknowledge that the criminal behavior suffered by our Mayor and his family was unacceptable may spur on more despicable acts. Shame on you!

Janet Haisman from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 5:05 PM

NO, this is not OK. Every citizen deserves the right to be safe in his/her own home. I am very sympathetic to the protesters, but this cannot be condoned. Where are the parents? Anyone who does violence to anyone else is asking for a conservative agenda to become the law of the land. This is NOT the leadership style that will net these young protesters a gain in what they desire. I want these kids to be the leaders of the future. This is not the way.

Rob Ruffulo  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 5:01 PM

Trustee who won't denounce criminal activity should be arrested. Put armed guards on Mr. Abu-Taleb's house and shoot any trespassers or any one involved in criminal activity.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 4:52 PM

Who leads the kids? Cynthia Brito Millan is an adult who proudly advises them. And fund raises - someone has to buy those eggs. And she posted the announcement for the rally at Fox park, which then somehow ended up exactly at the Mayor's door. Trustee Arti heavily posts and talks up the group. She doesn't claim ownership, but when describing them she says stuff like - please join us. Oh, and Ms Millan was active in D97, for those of you with kids at school.

J Michael Williams from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 4:47 PM

No elected official should be subjected to the kinds of abuse to which Mr. Abu-Taleb and his family were reportedly subjected, no matter the merits of the cause that brought out the protesters in the first place. The conduct of the protesters that was described in the article was not a "conversation" about defunding the police.

Linda Heffernan  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 4:45 PM

This is shocking and disappointing. We should be able to have a strong difference of opinion without destruction of property. People who are willing to serve all of Oak Park's residents should be able to do that without fear for their safety. I know that tensions are high with good reason but destruction of property and threats do nothing to further the important issues that we need to address,

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 4:34 PM

I live on the same block as the Abu-Taleb family. I have known this good family for decades. My son grew up with their sons. To make the Mayor and his family feel unsafe in their own home, is very un-Oak Park like. Every citizen in Oak Park should be very ashamed. To the parents of these faux radicals, keep your kids home, and make them stay in their room in the basement.

Marlene Scott from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2020 4:30 PM

This behavior is disgusting, unacceptable, and criminal. The vandals should be arrested along with any adults who contributed to the delinquency of minors.

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