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Chicago looting overnight spurs 100 arrests, city restrictions

“This was not an organized protest,” Superintendent David Brown said. “This was an incident of pure criminality.”

By: Bloomberg |
August 11, 2020 12:10:17 am
Chicago violence, Chicago looting, Chicago news, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, black lives matter, black lives matter protests, chicago protests, indian expressPolice officers inspect a damaged Best Buy store after parts of Chicago saw widespread looting and vandalism, on August 10. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Chicago authorities are restricting access to the city’s downtown after caravans of looters smashed windows, damaged storefronts and stole merchandise across downtown overnight, leading to the arrests of more than 100 people.

Two people, a civilian and a security guard, were shot amid the melee, as crowds descended overnight on major commercial areas, including the iconic Magnificent Mile, Superintendent David Brown said during a press conference Monday.

More than 400 officers were dispatched to downtown after seeing social media posts encouraging looting in the wake of an officer-involved shooting Sunday on the South Side, Brown said. Thirteen officers were hurt in incidents that included broken windows, stolen merchandise and shots fired at police, he said.

“This was an assault on our city,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who appeared with Brown during the press conference. “It undermines public safety and breeds a sense of insecurity among our residents. It also undermines our recovery efforts. These same stores that were hit last night, were hit previously, not just by the looting but by closures related to Covid-19.”

Bus and train service were temporarily suspended into downtown. Downtown access will be restricted from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time, and the city’s iconic bridges over the Chicago River were raised to limit access into the city’s loop.

Some unrest had started Sunday with a crowd growing in a South side neighborhood following a shooting incident involving police and a 20-year-old man, who was injured but is expected to survive, according to Brown. Police had responded to a call of a man with a gun, and the individual had pointed the gun at officers, Brown said. After the shooting, tempers flared “fueled by misinformation,” and then police began seeing social media posts, Brown said.

“This was not an organized protest,” Brown said. “This was an incident of pure criminality.”

The unrest comes as Chicago is struggling with a spike in violent crime and follows looting and protests in May and June spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Murders in the 28 days through Aug. 2 have more than doubled to 94 from 37 in the same period a year earlier, according to police data. Shooting incidents have jumped 79% to 361 during that time.

Brown said Monday that he has temporarily canceled time off for officers, who will be working 12-hour shifts.

“Criminals took to the street with confidence that there would be no consequences,” Brown said. He said the lack of prosecutions following arrests in May and June partly have led some to believe there may be no punishment.

“CPD will not stand by as our beautiful downtown becomes some place that people fear,” Brown said.

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