CHICAGO — Alderwoman Julia Ramirez (12th Ward) issued a statement Thursday that said she and a staffer were assaulted at a protest of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plan to construct a temporary migrant shelter at 38th Street and California Avenue.
Ramirez’s statement said, in part, “Residents contacted my office this week and asked that I attend [the protest] to hear their concerns. I wanted to engage directly with my community to address misinformation being spread about my involvement in the plan, and how we should move forward as a community. After having a few conversations, it became clear that most of the protestors did not want to engage in a peaceful dialogue with me … As I was leaving the protest, a group of protestors surrounded me and my staffer and began assaulting us.”
The full statement can be read at the bottom of this article.
Ramirez confirmed in the statement that she is “ok,” but her staffer was taken to the hospital and is in good condition.
Earlier Thursday, the Mayor’s Office said Ramirez was physically attacked during a protest against the construction site of a tent camp meant to house newly arrived migrants in Brighton Park.
The owner of the site located near the intersection of 38th Street and California is the Sanchez Group. The Sanchez Group submitted an application with the city as a potential property to house newly arrived migrants.
During the protest, Ramirez was allegedly chased by people demanding answers and she was then escorted out by police.
According to the mayor’s office, Ramirez was a victim of a physical attack by area residents and released a statement:
“I learned today that an alderwoman and an aide, while attempting to meet with constituents, were victims of a physical attack by area residents. My administration supports the right to peaceful protest and free speech, but this type of action against a public servant is unconscionable … Any violent act against an elected official in our city is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms. My office and the Chicago Police Department are currently investigating this incident, and we will provide updates as they become available.”
Residents upset by the plan mentioned feelings of being overlooked by the city when making the decision.
“It doesn’t feel good to be disregarded by the mayor, the alderperson. She is supposed to represent us and she’s clearly not representing all of us,” Jacquelyn Zuniga, a Brighton Park resident, said.
An alternative site is being considered to house migrants at Amundson Fieldhouse on the West Side. However, the plan has been met by at least three lawsuits and fiery townhall meetings.
Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward) said the city has inspected another property at 1900 N. Austin that could house about 200 migrants, which is close to the same amount Amundsen could hold.
WGN News reached out to Ramirez’s office for comment but have not yet heard back.
Ramirez is expected to hold a community meeting scheduled to take place Tuesday, Oct. 24 at Kelly High School at 6 p.m.