Looters rip through Chicago shopping dictrict, shoot at cops after rumors of police shooting child went around
The original suspect was a 20-year-old man who had several previous arrests, on charges including burglary and child endangerment
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Around 100 people were arrested and 13 police officers were injured following an explosive night in Chicago that saw vandals smash windows and loot stores in the city's Magnificent Mile shopping district.
The chaos unfolded after an incident in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side around 2.30 pm on Sunday, August 9, according to the Chicago Tribune. Police officers responded to the area over reports of a man with a gun and confronted someone who fit the description near Moran Park, resulting in an exchange of fire. Police said that, as he was running away, the suspect turned around and fired at the officers. In retaliation, the officers returned fire and wounded the suspect, who had to be transported to the University of Chicago Hospital for treatment.
Police Superintendent David Brown said during a subsequent press conference that, following the altercation, unsubstantiated rumors that claimed cops had shot and wounded a child began making the rounds on social media that, in turn, sparked looting. He shared that their suspect was a 20-year-old who had several previous arrests, on charges including burglary, child endangerment, and domestic battery and that he was expected to survive his injuries.
The message was repeated by Deputy Chief Yolanda Talley. "Emotions were running high," she said. "They were responding to misinformation,” Talley told reporters. “It happened while we were processing the crime scene. We were holding the line and if there had not been a crime scene there, we would have not been there." But the fuse had been lit. Brown said that, after the shooting, a crowd began gathering on the South Side and tensions began boiling over. In response, he said they deployed 400 officers to the scene but that tempers had flared by that point.
What followed was a night that saw scores take to the streets and loot and damage several businesses. Videos posted on social media showed looters roaming the streets and breaking into stores, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Rack, and a Tesla dealership.
Looting continues in downtown Chicago as of 5:45am. These people are coming out of the Block 37 mall on Randolph west of State Street. Looting has been going on all over downtown and the Magnificent Mile since around midnight. Police are all over the place. @WBBMNewsradio pic.twitter.com/qrBwm8KCZX— Bernie Tafoya (@BernieTafoya) August 10, 2020
Hundreds of people smashed windows, stole from stores and clashed with police overnight in Chicago's Magnificent Mile shopping district and other parts of the city's downtown. https://t.co/HrDCLtBUXd pic.twitter.com/sanXXVYGx2— ABC News (@ABC) August 10, 2020
Just south of Magnificent Mile, officers were shot at and returned fire. "We do have an officer that was maced by someone in the crowd," Tally told Fox32. "We do have an officer that sustained a shoulder injury from the incident with the crowd." Police eventually took extensive measures to curb the looting. They closed off streets and highway ramps and halted the bus and train services downtown at the "request of public safety officials".
A Chicago police spokesman said that, as of Monday, August 10, they did not yet have details on how many arrests had been made or how widespread the damage was to businesses downtown. "Right now, it’s still an ongoing situation. It’s still an ongoing scene," the spokesman told Washington Post.
However, Brown and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot both stressed that the looting was not part of an organized protest. "This was not an organized protest," the police superintendent said. "This was an incident of pure criminality."