Crime & Courts

Police find no credible threats tied to Civil War Days cancellation

Police on Friday announced there were no credible threats tied to the Lake County Forest Preserve's annual civil war re-enactment, which was canceled earlier this week for "security concerns."

After reviewing emails, voice mails and hundreds of online comments that prompted officials to call off the area's annual Civil War Days event, Lake County sheriff's officers determined none of the threats was credible and no crime had occurred, according to a news release from sheriff's department spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli.

The forest preserve announced the event's cancellation on Monday without a recommendation from the Lake County Sheriff's Department. The police agency had previously advised that a criminal investigation was needed to evaluate the alleged threats, the release stated.

Lake County Commissioner Dick Barr contacted the sheriff's department Tuesday to officially request a criminal investigation into the threats.

On Wednesday, members of Sheriff’s Administration and Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations met with John Tannahill, the director of public safety for the Lake County Forest Preserve, for a briefing on the situation.

Later that day, forest preserve officials supplied police with more than 500 pages of documents, 20 voice mails, and two videos, which had been posted on Facebook. Throughout the next two days, Lake County Forest Preserve President Angelo Kyle forwarded police dozens of emails and voice mails that he personally received during the course of several days, according to the release.

The safety concerns included "inflammatory remarks made during phone conversations with staff on social media platforms, and in articles and posts related to the event," the forest preserve wrote Tuesday in a Facebook post.

"Additionally, several organized groups with opposing viewpoints expressed plans to use the event as a platform. The potential for a tense situation that could become uncontrollable at a public educational event caused legitimate concerns with key event and public safety staff within the District," the post stated.

Follow-ups were also conducted with two social media commenters who had made vague comments, Covelli wrote.

"Interviews with both social media posters revealed while their comments were in extreme poor taste, there was no criminal intent/threat surrounding their message," Covelli said.

Sheriff's detectives ultimately found there were no credible threats, according to the news release.

Lake County's Civil War Days was slated for July 13 to 14 at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda.

In a statement Friday, the forest preserve said that the sheriff’s office finding “does not change our conclusion that the second cancellation was a prudent safety decision.”

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