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Clashes at recent protests in Chicago prompt First Amendment concerns for DNC in August

Clashes at recent protests in Chicago prompt First Amendment concerns for DNC in August
Clashes at recent protests in Chicago prompt First Amendment concerns for DNC in August 02:00

CHICAGO (CBS) – After Monday's protests in Chicago to shed light on the crisis in Gaza, in which led to the arrests of several protesters, concerns over security at the Democratic National Convention this August are rising.

Monday's protests, including the blocking of traffic on a road near O'Hare International Airport.

The confrontations with Chicago police on Monday led some activist groups to believe they are being targeted ahead of the DNC. The demonstrations are putting a spotlight on the rights of protestors and the plan local law enforcement will have in place come August.

The pro-Palestinian rally in Chicago's Loop on Monday was peaceful when CBS 2 cameras captured the scene, but it later turned chaotic as 14 people were arrested. It was the 33rd time the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine had hit the streets of downtown Chicago since the war in Gaza began.

"They didn't kill anybody last night, but they attacked people," said Hatem Abudayyeh, USPCN's national chair.

But this time, the group said their right to protest was violated by Chicago police, and they are concerned about what's to come in August when the DNC comes to town.

Pro-Palestinian organization worries new Chicago police policy could hinder right to protest at DNC 02:39

Chicago Police Department leadership said they have learned from past mistakes.

"Every single thing we are doing right now is rooted in constitutional policing," said CPD Supt. Larry Snelling. "But we are also training our officers how to respond when they see these levels of violence."

First Amendment advocates specifically cited a new Chicago police policy calling for mass arrests of protesters. The policy is at the center of a federal court filing in which several activist groups said it "eviscerates protections required by the First Amendment."

One local expert said the DNC will serve as a major test of whether or not the Chicago Police Department has reformed since the violent unrest of 2020.

"Will we see something different?" said University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman. "Will we see a police force that is there and understands its primary mission and purpose is to protect the right of everyone."

Chicago police have already said they want to make sure protesters have their First Amendment rights, but they will not allow violence or vandalism.

The city and police department have yet to respond to calls to revise the mass arrest policy. If a resolution can't be found in federal court, a judge is expected to step in and make a decision.

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