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Local News

Activist says response to Joliet police chief protest unfair

Police official said demonstrators 'peacefully protested' outside chief's home

A protester said he didn’t think it was fair he was told the demonstration at the Joliet police chief’s home wasn’t allowed because of the residential picketing law when protesters at the mayor’s home were apparently not told the same.

Activist Stringer Harris said he and other protesters were at a street corner near the home of Joliet Police Chief Al Roechner on Saturday when two officers showed up. He said one of the officers told him they were not allowed to protest because of the residential picketing law and that residents have the right to be in their homes without being disturbed.

Harris said after his conversation with the officer, the protesters left the area because he didn’t want anyone getting arrested.

He said the protesters who went to Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk’s home were not stopped at all from demonstrating despite making loud noises and using a bullhorn.

“I don’t know if that’s really fair. I think it’s a little off,” he said.

Roechner and O’Dekirk failed to respond to calls on Monday.

Joliet police Sgt. Dwayne English said in an email that “all protest organizers” have been advised about the Illinois residential picketing law.

“The demonstrators peacefully protested outside the Joliet police chief’s residence for several hours,” English said. “There were approximately ten people in attendance.”

Harris said it was more than 10 protesters, and they were there for a half hour before the officers showed up.

Harris said he plans to return to Roechner’s home to demonstrate again, even if it’s just him.

“We’re peaceful people in general. We’re doing everything the right way, but we want something in return,” he said.

Harris has been part of the protests over the death of Eric Lurry after his arrest by Joliet police Jan. 28.

The Will County Coroner's Office determined Lurry's death was caused by an accidental drug overdose. His widow Nicole Lurry claimed in a federal lawsuit that officers Douglas May, Andrew McCue, Jose Tellez and Lt. Jeremy Harrison were responsible for his death.

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