Mundelein trustee plans forums on protesting, dealing with police
Mundelein trustee's events to instruct public on protesting; fellow officials are puzzled
Mundelein Trustee Holly Kim's plans to hold forums this summer about staging public protests and defending your rights when dealing with police are confounding other village officials.
Kim described the sessions as classes that can help people be "well mannered and respectful" when dealing with police. She insisted they aren't meant to vilify police officers.
"I (want) residents to know their rights and what they can do for themselves," Kim said.
But one of Kim's peers on the village board sees it differently.
"A local lawmaker who is on the board that oversees public safety is trying to educate and encourage how to go against our public safety officers," Trustee Ray Semple said. "I am stunned."
Kim, an outspoken libertarian who was elected trustee in 2013, announced the forums on her Facebook page last week.
Chicago lawyer Jason Han is set to lead the discussions. According to Han's website, Han's specialties include police misconduct cases.
The first session, covering your rights in your home, is set for 6:30 p.m. June 21 at the AREA General Store, 18 E. Park St., Mundelein.
The second forum, covering your rights during a traffic stop, is set for 6:30 p.m. July 1 at the same store.
The third meeting, called "Freedom of Speech: How to Throw a Successful Protest," is scheduled for Aug. 21 at an undetermined location.
A flier for the events says the gatherings will "touch on some of our constitutional rights and general guidelines for self-advocacy."
Mundelein Public Safety Director Eric Guenther called the topics "a bit perplexing." He also noted he and Kim have had "a good relationship."
Guenther said Kim has asked him to participate in the discussions since she first advertised them. He hasn't yet decided if he will.
Kim said she organized the meetings as a private citizen and not in an official capacity. She's held others in recent years, including one about how to run for office and another on the constitutional protections against illegal searches and seizures.
"I'm publicly a firm believer in knowledge sharing," she said.
Mayor Steve Lentz said teaching people about their rights "is a good thing." But he's also concerned Kim's forums could build "mistrust" of the police.
"Our police department works very hard to acquire and maintain our community's trust," Lentz said. "Let's hope these forums don't undermine those efforts."
Kim said Mundelein's police officers "do a great job." She said she intentionally didn't use the word "police" in the promotional flier.
"People can know their rights without denying the hard work and efforts of the police," she said.
Trustee Dawn Abernathy said she'd rather see Kim host public discussions about starting businesses or promoting businesses using social media than the topics to be covered this summer.
"I don't think she thought these events through," Abernathy said.