City appeals Occupy Chicago decision

September 28, 2012

Quinn Ford and the Associated Press

Mayor Rahm Emanuel vows to appeal judge's decision to throw out Occupy arrests.

The city of Chicago appealed a judge’s decision to throw out the arrests of 92 Occupy Chicago protesters.

The arrests occurred last October when protesters refused to take down their tents and leave Grant Park after it closed at 11 p.m., violating the curfew ordinance for city parks.

 The city filed an appeal Friday, after Thursday's  dismissal of the charges by Cook County Associate Judge Thomas Donnelly. Donnelly's opinion stated that the city does not enforce the curfew for events it supports. 

Donnelly pointed specifically to President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election rally in Grant Park. Donnelly said no one was arrested at the rally even though the rally equally violated the curfew.

But at an unrelated press conference on Friday, Emanuel said the judge was comparing “apples to oranges.”

“It’s different,” Emanuel said. “One, [rally attendees] got a permit. Two, they weren’t planning on sleeping overnight. Those are kind of fundamental differences.”   

Emanuel also said the city will appeal based on past Supreme Court decision dating back to 1984 as well as decisions made by other cities.

“I don’t think this is the last word,” Emanuel said. “We’re going to appeal the decision because we do believe the ordinance is on firm ground as it relates to both public safety and first amendment rights.”