August 10, 2020

"Pure Criminality" - Over 100 Arrests in Violent "Coordinated" Chicago Looting Spree Last Night

The scope of last night's looting, violence and wanton destruction in Chicago is stunning.


AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
As I reported late last night, huge crowds of people overwhelmed the police and smashed their way into many of the city's finest retailers in the world-famous "Magnificent Mile" on N. Michigan Avenue. Chaos and confusion were the order of the moment.

Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot held a press conference this morning.

“We are waking up in shock this morning,” she said, and referred to the looting as “brazen criminal looting and destruction.” Lightfoot has been harshly criticized as not doing enough to quell violence in Chicago. She added, "This was straight up, felony criminal conduct," said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. "This was an assault on our city."


"Widespread damage was reported throughout Chicago after looting and rioting began around midnight Monday," reported WGN-TV9. "Witnesses reported hundreds of people smashing their way into stores throughout Michigan Avenue, areas in the South Loop and the Near North Side."

Today we get a clearer picture of what went down.

From the Chicago Tribune:
More than 100 people were arrested as of 9 a.m., according to Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown. Thirteen officers were injured during the unrest, including a sergeant who was hit by a bottle. A civilian and private security guard were shot and wounded. 
[...]  
City officials said the seeds for the violent crime spree were sown on social media Sunday afternoon following an officer involved shooting in the Englewood neighborhood. Officers shot and wounded a 20-year-old man Sunday after he fired shots at them while being chased, authorities said. 
The man was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center and is expected to survive, Brown said. 
The Civilian Office Police Accountability, the city agency that investigates all officer-involved shootings, released a statement confirming Brown’s assertion that the wounded male is an adult. Some social media accounts that authorities say fueled the unrest referred to him as a 15-year-old boy.
The Tribune report noted that there are renewed calls for the Illinois Nationa Guard to be called in to keep order. Many of the looters and rioters were spurred on by social media. The Trib has a related article worth reading: Live updates: Here’s the latest on the aftermath of overnight looting and vandalism in Chicago.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the police presence will be beefed up in response.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said police will not stand by and watch downtown Chicago become “someplace people fear.” He promised a “heavy police presence” to restore order, and said access to downtown will be restricted from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., effective Monday night.
Brown said “the seeds for the shameful destruction we saw last night” started in Englewood Sunday afternoon. About 2:30 p.m., officers responded to a report of a man with a gun. He fled as they arrived, Brown said, and fired at officers. They returned fire, striking the man, who was taken to the University of Chicago Hospital and is expected to survive. The 20-year-old man had previously faced charges of domestic battery, reckless conduct and child endangerment, Brown said.

Shortly after that, police became aware of “several social media posts” about looting planned downtown, Brown said, and as a result, the department reacted by deploying 400 officers to the downtown area.
One of Chicago's most outspoken civil rights personalities, Michael Pfleger, actually said the looting seemed "orchestrated." The Associated Press has this (emphasis added):
Along the Magnificent Mile, people were seen going in and out of stores carrying shopping bags full of merchandise as well as at a bank, the Chicago Tribune reported, and as the crowd grew vehicles dropped off more people in the area. On streets throughout the downtown area, empty cash drawers from stores were strewn about and ATMs were ripped open. 
Stores miles from downtown were also ransacked, with parking lots littered with glass and items from inside the stores. Clothes hangers and boxes that once contained television sets and other electronics were seen — evidence that thieves had taken racks of clothes and removed them from the hangers. 
"This was obviously very orchestrated," the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a prominent Roman Catholic priest and activist on the city's South Side, told WBBM-TV as cameras panned the downtown area.
Pfleger's "orchestrated" statement is supported by many other accounts. Police Superintendent David Brown said that "caravans" of people were seen on their way to the Mag Mile and the Loop to loot.

Brown and Lightfoot both emphasized that the looting should not be mistaken for protesting. “This was not an organized protest,” Brown said. “This was an incident of pure criminality.”

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