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McLean County won’t require permit for protests on county property just yet, but Sheriff is pushing for it

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BLOOMINGTON/NORMAL (WEEK) - McLean County may soon require protesters to get a permit at least a month before holding a rally. Sheriff Jon Sandage says it's a matter of safety for his staff.

A new ordinance would require any public gathering on county property to get a permit at least 30 days in advance. County Administrator Camille Rodriguez said it's still a long way from a sure thing.

"Does it include what one would include what one would call a demonstration or protest. I think that's up for debate," she said Tuesday.

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage said he's behind it. "It would let us know who the organizers are of these. Give us a heads up of when they're going to occur, where they'll occur."

Sandage said they could help protect county property with a heads up for protests and rallies. That includes the jail, where they've had several rallies this summer.

"It definitely riles up the inmates and we go to a lock down situation to protect not only the inmates but the staff," explained Sandage.

During a march in may, one man was arrested for hate crimes after driving his motorcycle through a crowd, sending one woman to the hospital.
Sandage says the City of Bloomington has a more restrictive ordinance, but council member Jenn Carrillo said otherwise.

"Almost always that permitting process is waived for protests. Because we understand that typically you don't get 60 to 90 days notice when there is an injustice that happens that you have to protest," Carrillo explained.

The ordinance won't see a vote just yet. It's been tabled by the property committee,

"Our tax dollars pay for that space and so we should have the right to protest their every day if we want to," said Carrillo

"I want the community to have all of the opportunities to bring their causes forward or celebrate an event and do so with a process in place," added Rodriguez.

Kyle Beachy

Kyle Beachy is a Multimedia Journalist for 25 News and Heart of Illinois. Born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana, he attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he studied Education and played baseball. He comes to us from Columbus, Ohio where he received a Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University.

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