Police Inspector David Brown said more than 100 people were arrested in Chicago after a nighttime bout of violence that appeared to start with a police exchange of fire with a 20-year-old man.
He explained that this was not a protest, describing it instead as a “pure criminal incident.” Thirteen officers were wounded in the city center.
Mayor Laurie Lightfoot described it as “extremely painful” and said it had nothing to do with the First Amendment to the Right to Peaceful Assembly.
“You do not have the right to seize and destroy other people’s property,” she said. “We will not allow criminals and guards to take over our city, no matter who they are and what they do.”
Brown said that those arrested have been accused of looting, disorderly conduct, and police beating
He said the police would maintain a heavy presence in the city center until further notice. The supervisor said the officers would work 12-hour shifts, and holidays would be canceled.
Access to the city center will be restricted from 8 PM. As of 6 a.m., limited access means all Cook County Courts, except the Bond Courts, close on Mondays. Circuit Court President Timothy Evans said cases will last 30 days.
The Chicago Transportation Authority said the bus and train service was suspended at the request of police, but it is back today.
The unrest appeared to have been born from the shooting of an officer but police officers said there was a great deal of misinformation about the incident.
Chicago Deputy Police Commissioner Yolanda Taley spoke of the situation on Sunday, long after the crowd took to the streets “with great agitation”. She said one officer was hit in the shoulder, and another officer was sprayed with molasses in the unrest. She said someone also threw a stone through the window of the squad’s car.
Tally said, “This is a direct response to one of the instigators in the scene that worries people without having the full story.”
The police responded to reports of the presence of an armed man around 2:30 in the afternoon. (3:30 PM ET), upon arrival, attempted to question a 20-year-old man who had a previous arrest record, Brown said. He said he took off, the police pursued him, and when the man fled he opened fire on the officers.
The police chief said officers responded and beat him. He said the man was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center and is expected to live. Three officers were taken to hospital for observation.
Police said in a statement that the suspect’s pistol had been found at the scene.
Brown said the man has faced criminal charges four times before, including burglary, child endangerment, and home assault.
CNN crews witnessed a heavy police presence overnight on Michigan Avenue, which forms part of the Magnificent Mile commercial strip. Large groups gathered shortly after midnight and sabotaged business during the night. Thieves were seen taking expensive shoes and bags from Nordstrom.
A video clip captured outside Saks Fifth Avenue shows armed police officers standing near the entrance door. Its glass is broken, and the security gate inside is partially raised.
Another video shows a large crowd of people gathering outside the Coach store. Windows are shattered. In a separate video, someone is seen throwing a shell at the window of a jewelry store on Michigan Avenue.
The video also shows damage to Saks Fifth Avenue and Pandora.
The police did not have specific information about the size of the crowd, the extent of the damage, or the level of police response, and only said, “This is an ongoing situation.”
It was not only the large chains that came under attack, Lightfoot mournful, but also small businesses and restaurants hit hard “by the closure related to Covid-19 stores.”
“This is the right time for all of us to go up and we will do exactly that,” she said.