1,000 Extra Police Deployed to Downtown Chicago to Deter Looting

August 16, 2020 Updated: August 16, 2020

Chicago has 1,000 more police officers patrolling the streets this weekend as the city tries to end a wave of looting and crime sparked by what officials described as misinformation about a police-involved shooting last weekend.

Widespread looting and burglaries have resulted in over 100 people arrested from downtown Chicago and some residential areas over the past week, with at least 24 arrests after police were attacked during protests on Saturday.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx said Saturday that her office had already filed 42 charges related to the rioting that occurred last Sunday, including a charge for attempted murder.

Activists that day had claimed that an unarmed 15-year-old had been shot by police without provocation. But officials later said that the man was 20-year-old Latrell Allen, who was approached after police received a call about a person with a gun. Allen, “pointed a gun and fired multiple rounds at uniformed Chicago police officers” as he fled, according to police.

The shooting was not fatal and Allen has since been charged with two counts of attempted murder.

Black Lives Matter activists had called into question the official version of events, an allegation which sparked rioting. The activists also condoned the widespread looting seen overnight into Monday morning as “reparation.” The burglaries impacted many businesses on the city’s Magnificent Mile and other downtown shopping districts.

As rioting continued through the week, Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown said on Thursday that his department would be extending officers’ hours and canceling leave to bring law and order back to the city.

“This is our town; it doesn’t belong to the criminals,” he said. “Our department, our police officers will risk their lives to protect you. Not in our town. Not in our city.”

Democrat Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in agreement with police reports that the shooter was “not an unarmed juvenile,” as was “propagated on social media.”

She called the looting and violence “organized criminal activity.”

“To be sure, there are people that did join in that were motivated by lots of different reasons, and certainly were motivated by social media posts encouraging people to come downtown,” Lightfoot told Time Magazine. “But the core of what happened—that’s organized criminal activity… It was a planned attack.”

The violence on Saturday broke out in the afternoon after a morning of peaceful protests, according to police.

Pepper spray had to be used as “multiple agitators hijacked this peaceful protest,” Brown told reporters later in the day.

He said that agitators had hidden behind black umbrellas to change their appearance before “assaulting officers.”

Police have since reported that 17 officers were injured by attacks and at least 24 people were arrested.

The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications said organizers told them they were expecting 2,000 people to march in the Dan Ryan Expressway protest, which ended up having to take a different route.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this article.