A man who is reportedly on leave from his job as a Chicago Public Schools teacher faces felony charges for allegedly showing up at Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home repeatedly this week, agitated and frustrated that Chicago police officers were still posted outside after she lost her re-election bid.
Garrett McLinn, 36, is charged with two counts of felony stalking and misdemeanor resisting police.
Around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, officers assigned to Lightfoot’s security detail encountered McLinn outside Lightfoot’s home in the 3400 block of West Wrightwood. According to Assistant State’s Attorney Jose Villareal, he stood on the sidewalk and spoke with members of the security detail, expressing his frustration with their presence because he believed she was no longer mayor.
McLinn refused to leave and continued his rant until officers escorted him away. Later, McLinn allegedly drove past Lightfoot’s car and flipped off the cops who were sitting outside.
He returned to the mayor’s house Thursday afternoon and went on a 20-minute rant about how police were still protecting her, according to Villareal.
After McLinn left, the police informed Lightfoot about the situation, and she “expressed safety concerns,” according to Villareal.
McLinn allegedly returned around 6:20 p.m. and yelled at the security detail as he drove by in his car. The cops tried to follow him, but they returned to Lightfoot’s home after he sped away.
Members of Lightfoot’s security detail arrested McLinn about 90 minutes later when they saw him walking on the sidewalk across from her home, Villareal said.
Chicago police license plate reader data allegedly showed McLinn was in the area of Lightfoot’s home 14 times between Tuesday and Thursday. He has no criminal background.
An assistant public defender who represented McLinn during his bail hearing on Saturday afternoon said he has a degree in physical education and is “on leave” from his job as a teacher at Taft High School on the Northwest Side. McLinn’s name does not appear on the school’s faculty member page, but his name is on the most recent CPS employee list, published on December 31.
Judge Susana Ortiz told McLinn he could go home with a 24-hour curfew by posting a $2,000 bail deposit. She also ordered him to be outfitted with a GPS tracker and to stay away from Lightfoot’s house.
Prosecutors have charged at least three people with stalking or threatening Lightfoot over the past year, but none of the cases resulted in serious penalties:
- David Kariotis of the Tampa, Florida, area was sentenced to “second chance probation” for allegedly making a series of phone and online threats against Lightfoot. He pleaded guilty to filing a false report, which was reduced from threatening a public official, on February 6. Successful completion of the two-year second chance probation sentence results in the dismissal of charges under Illinois law.
- Joseph Igartua, 37, was charged with stalking after he allegedly visited Lightfoot’s home repeatedly to complain about traffic citations in February 2022. Prosecutors also accused him of firing a gun in an alley about a mile from Lightfoot’s home as members of her security team shadowed him. Iguartua, who was a concealed carry holder, eventually pleaded guilty to reckless discharge of a firearm and received an 18-month probation sentence. All of the stalking charges were dropped.
- A Lincoln Park man was sentenced to probation and community service for allegedly threatening to shoot Lightfoot and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and hang them from trees if they didn’t do something about the city’s crime problem. Christopher Tatlock, 33, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of electronic harassment, which were reduced from felony charges. Prosecutors dropped two counts of hate crime and two counts of threatening a public official in their plea deal with Tatlock.