NYPD preparing for more protests as Election Day approaches
Former ICE Acting Director Tom Homan joins ‘The Evening Edit’ with reaction and analysis.
Business owners in some parts of the nation are concerned and uncertain whether they should open on or around Election Day amid fears of protests or destruction, local groups and police officials said.
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Authorities in Chicago, Miami, Portland, Washington, D.C. and other cities are working with local business people to address potential ways businesses could be impacted before, during and after the election, law enforcement officials and representatives of business groups told FOX Business.
Elliot Richardson, president and co-founder of the Chicago-based Small Business Advisory Council, said Friday that fear "of civil unrest and looting [after the election] looms large over communities that really faced that during the summer."
The looting and property damage that happened during or following some racial justice protests "had a devastating impact. And that's really what needs to be prevented," he said.
"We've got to protect those local communities and those local businesses from further hardship, from looting or any sort of destruction that might occur on Election Day."
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The Windy City saw spurts of unrest in the wake of the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Tensions remained heightened months later in August, when hundreds of people – including “car caravans” as described by Police Superintendent David Brown – ventured into Chicago's Magnificent Mile, where they destroyed property and looted stores over the course of several hours.
Brown said at the time that the looting spree was believed to have been triggered by allegedly false information that was circulating related to a police shooting hours earlier.
During a recent press conference covering election preparedness, Brown said Chicago police are now trying “as best we can to anticipate any hazard that might happen,” including the possibility of “embedded agitators that might loot, or cause violence or destroy property.”
Rich Giudice, executive director of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said the OEMC met with about 50 business representatives earlier this month to discuss precautions retailers could or should take. Plans could include opening a “business operations center” that will work directly with the OEMC on Election Day.
“I feel we always have had a very good relationship with the business community. It’s been enhanced, obviously, throughout the course of this summer,” Giudice said during a press conference last week.
He said he is not asking retailers to protect their businesses with plywood or plan for potential losses, saying, “There’s no reason for us to tell them that at this time.” He said officials were encouraging business owners to check in with their private security service.
“[We] tell them, ‘Make sure your cameras are up and functioning,'” Giudice said. “Make sure they’re pointing in the right directions. Make sure you have ample amount of security at each one of your locations, and most importantly, communication.”
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Richardson said Friday that the SBAC has heard from businesses that are considering their security options.
He noted he has not heard from any specific business owners who said they have decided to close on Election Day, but said some might not be able to afford to close or take other precautions.
"Some of these very small businesses, especially those that have been hurt by the pandemic and were involved in the prior looting, might not have the money to take precautions that are necessary," he said. "Businesses are struggling right now, and every hit that they take, whether it's through the pandemic or through looting, puts them in an even worse situation."