ILLINOIS — City officials reported 63 shootings and 12 murders in Chicago this weekend and said 18 police officers were injured by a violent mob they said hijacked a peaceful demonstration against a statute and lobbed projectiles at law enforcement.
A published report said 150 federal officers were expected to be deployed to the Windy City this week.
The ACLU of Illinois said the Trump administration’s threats of sending in federal forces are “reckless” and that the administration is “bent on terrorizing our communities.”
“Trump’s federal troops will not be a constructive force in Chicago,” said Colleen Connell, executive director of ACLU of Illinois. “As our colleagues have seen in Portland, Trump’s secret forces will terrorize communities, and create chaos. This is not law and order.”
But Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown showed video Monday of an organized group breaking away from a protest against a statue Friday conducting violence against police. Some videos showed the group breaking away holding up a canopy of umbrellas where they shielded their weapons and movements. He said the group broke apart PVC pipe from protest signs that had sharpened edges.
Another video clip showed projectiles being dispersed rapidly to individuals who hurled them at police.
“When they have to be moved from the west side to the south sides to address mob action that’s fewer officers to protect residents in the neighborhoods on the west and south sides,” Brown said.
Brown warned people coming to political demonstrations in the city to use their better judgment.
“There’s a chance that your good intentions to peacefully protest will be hijacked and thus violence against police officers,” Brown said.
Police arrested 12 people during the violence in Grant Park Friday. But there were 63 shootings and 12 murders elsewhere in Chicago over the weekend. Asked about federal help for the city’s problem with violence, Brown said they have asked for help in investigating certain organized gang activity.
“We’ll take any and all help,” Brown said, though he didn’t elaborate on what additional help was needed.
The Trump administration last week indicated an effort to address violence in large cities but it’s unclear what that will be.
“We don’t need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them I think unlawfully,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday.
The Chicago Tribune reported draft Trump administration plans for 150 officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to be deployed to the city this week.
Asked about his plans in the Oval Office on Monday, President Donald Trump said he’s going to send more federal law enforcement officers to places like Chicago.
“In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job, they’ve been there three days, and they really have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time, no problem,” Trump said. “They grab them, a lot of people in jail. Their leaders. These are anarchists. These are not protesters.”
Trump said the Democratic leaders in places like Chicago don’t want federal help because “they’re afraid” of the violent mobs.
“The politicians out there, yes they’re weak, but they’re afraid of these people,” Trump said. “How about Chicago? Would you say they need help after this weekend? Do you know the numbers, have you seen the numbers? Many, many shot, many many killed.”
The Center Square – Greg Bishop