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Sheriff: No threats were made to Lake County Civil War Days

Lake County Civil War Days event | Photo by the Lake County Forest Preserve.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said that they found no threats in their investigation after the annual Lake County Civil War Days event was cancelled by Lake County Forest Preserve officials due to alleged threats.

On Wednesday, sheriff’s officials met with Lake County Forest Preserve President Angelo Kyle and Director of Safety John Tannahill, who turned over more than 500 pages of documents, Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said.

Those included hundreds of comments posted on social media, hundreds of comments posted on news articles, hundreds of comments posted on various websites related to Civil War Days, dozens of electronic messages sent to officials via the Forest Preserve website, dozens of emails sent directly to Forest Preserve Commissioner Angelo Kyle, 25 voicemails received by Commissioner Kyle and forest preserve staff, and two videos posted to Facebook, Covelli said.

During the meeting, Forest Preserve officials told police that they did not believe there were any actual threats but were concerned about protests at the event.

Covelli said that detectives did interview two social media commenters about their comments.

“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.

“After all of the data was reviewed, Sheriff’s Detectives found NO credible threats to Forest Preserve Elected/Appointed Officials, Forest Preserve Staff, Forest Preserve Property, participants of Civil War Days, or guests planning to attend Civil War Days,” Covelli said.

None of the documents provided by the Lake County Forest Preserve contained any evidence of a threat to the event, Covelli added.

The Lake County Forest Preserve District had announced on Monday that the Civil War Days event scheduled for July 13 and 14 at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda was cancelled due to unspecified safety concerns.

“After consulting with local and state law enforcement agencies, we made the decision to cancel the event due to public safety concerns,” Lake County Forest Preserves Executive Director Ty Kovach said on Monday.

Lake County Forest Preserve Public Safety Director John Tannahill said on Monday that there had been many ‘responses’ to information stemming from a June 11 Forest Preserves board meeting where Civil War Days was discussed.

“Some of these responses were very concerning,” Tannahill said, adding that cancelling is the ‘best decision’.

“The tension around the event this year has changed the tone. We are not going to take a risk. It’s our job to protect preserve visitors, and our employees and volunteers,” Tannahill said.

Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said that the sheriff’s office was contacted on Tuesday by Lake County Commissioner Dick Barr, who requested authorities to conduct a criminal investigation into the threats.

Covelli said that the Lake County Sheriff’s Office never received an official request from the Forest Preserve District to evaluate the safety concerns before the event was cancelled.

Civil War Days is an educational event that has taken place at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda for the past 27 years.


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