Chicago Police Make More Than 100 Arrests as Protests Wreck Downtown
By: Leyuan Zhou
This Monday, more than 100 people were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, looting and battery against the police during a protest in Chicago’s most famous shopping district. The demonstrators were impelled by a recent police shooting and messages on social media to take action.
The angry mob converged on the Magnificent Mile, a downtown district in the heart of the city. They wreaked havoc in the streets – breaking windows, looting stores, and clashing with the police – prompting officials and over 400 police officers to raise bridges and halt public transit in an attempt to pacify the unrest. Two people were shot and at least thirteen police officers were injured in the incident.
Superintendent David Brown of the Chicago Police Department, who was sworn into office in April, claimed that the bedlam that occurred downtown was kindled by a shooting that took place on Sunday afternoon in the Englewood neighborhood of South Side Chicago.
At around 2:30 P.M. that day, officers confronted a 20-year-old man, reported to be in possession of a gun, in an alley. According to a statement made by the police department, the man fled and opened fire. “Officers then discharged their firearms, striking the offender,” the statement also said. The man, Latrell Allen, was charged with two counts of attempted murder and unlawful possession of a weapon; he was expected to survive and no officers were harmed during the encounter.
Chicago’s police department opened an investigation into the incident, but a rumor had already spread around the Englewood neighborhood, claiming that the man who had been shot was only fifteen years old and unarmed.
The city deployed hundreds of police officers to Michigan Avenue and the surrounding area after a social media post about potential looting downtown was posted earlier that day. Upon arrival, the police encountered people entering upscale shops, vandalizing storefronts, and smashing windows. During the turmoil, thirteen officers were injured and two people were taken to the hospital in critical condition after being shot.
Kim Foxx, the county’s top prosecutor, responded to the event, assuring the public that the people who broke the law would be held to account. “Last night was a blatant display of criminal behavior,” said Ms. Foxx. “It is not the people for whom we’ve chosen not to use our resources to prosecute.” In the past, people widely criticized the prosecutor for dropping felony charges at a higher rate than her predecessor.
This was not the first time angry demonstrators marched through Chicago to protest police misconduct – it has been happening all summer despite the resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.