In a new day of violent demonstrations in downtown Chicago on Saturday, Aug. 15, local police had to deal with groups of protesters who, according to testimonies, were organized to provoke violence. The police superintendent defended the actions of his officers.
A video published by the Chicago police shows some protesters in the crowd wearing gas masks, changing clothes to hide their identities and putting up umbrellas, a tactic already used in recent protests that is designed to hide people who throw projectiles at the officers.
The video was uploaded to the Chicago Police YouTube channel with a comment that read: “The following video footage shows the initial incident that sparked yesterday’s violence and arrests, as well as the aggravated battery against a CPD officer with a skateboard.”
Police Superintendent David Brown said at a small press conference broadcast on Facebook that Saturday’s confrontation in Millennium Park had been “orchestrated by agitators.”
Early Saturday, protesters were turned away on the South Side by a line of police as they tried to reach the Dan Ryan Expressway to fill it with people and close it down. No arrests were made in connection with that demonstration, Brown said.
Then, in the face of the protesters’ attacks, the police responded appropriately to control the situation, Brown continued. Twenty-four people were arrested, including four for serious crimes, and 17 officers were treated for nonlife-threatening injuries.
Among the four felony arrests was a 24-year-old man accused of allegedly striking a uniformed officer with a megaphone, and a 25-year-old man accused of assaulting another officer with a skateboard.
The Chicago police department created the so-called Looting Task Force, and since last week it has been releasing videos in the hope that people will recognize those who broke store windows or took merchandise and other items.
One of the first videos released was of two men breaking into an ATM with a hammer. That video, which police said was broadcast live, led to the arrest of a local man named Arron Neal, 20, who has been charged with the felony crimes of criminal damage to property and theft.
Police have also been issuing a series of press releases that include photographs of people involved in last week’s looting.
Despite these actions, the escalation of violence continues. Brown said that between 6 p.m. Friday and midnight Sunday, 51 people were shot, five of them fatally, in 38 shooting incidents. He said four minors were shot but none died.