42 Charged With Felonies Related to Chicago Looting: Prosecutor

August 15, 2020 Updated: August 15, 2020

The prosecutor who oversees Chicago said her office filed 42 charges related to the looting that took place in the city overnight Sunday.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx said she and other prosecutors at her office approved 42 of the 43 felony charges sought by the Chicago Police Department related to the rioting.

Thirty of the charges are linked to burglary or looting. Six are related to gun possession. Five are for aggravated battery of resisting a police officer. One is for attempted murder.

The only charge that was rejected was a burglary/looting case. Chicago police detectives concurred with the rejection, Foxx said. The Chicago Police Department (CPD) didn’t respond to a request for comment.

“The State’s Attorney Office is ready and available to review cases brought to us by law enforcement and to charge those cases when appropriate,” Foxx said in a statement. “I am committed to keeping our communities safe and continuing to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to demand accountability and seek justice for the people of Cook County.”

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Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx speaks to reporters at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, on Feb. 23, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
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Bridges across the Chicago river are raised to control access into downtown after widespread looting, Aug. 12, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

More than 100 people were arrested after widespread looting was apparently triggered by what officials described as misinformation about a police-involved shooting.

Activists claimed a 15-year-old man was shot by police without provocation. Officials said the man was 20 and was approached after a call about a person with a gun. The man fled and fired at the officers, prompting them to fire back.

The shooting was not fatal.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown criticized people who engaged in what they said was clear criminal action.

Dozens of people “engaged in what can only be described as brazen and extensive criminal looting and destruction,” Lightfoot told reporters the morning after the looting started.

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A trail of blood leads away from the shattered glass door of a Bloomingdales store that was looted in Chicago on Aug. 10, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Black Lives Matter activists denounced the arrests as they called into question the official version of events. The activists condoned looting, brushing it off as a form of reparations, or payment for people’s ancestors being enslaved.

In one event put on by the movement this week, local residents confronted them, accusing them of using the wrong tactics.

Officials appeared to blame Foxx for the mayhem. Brown told reporters that the looters were confident they wouldn’t face consequences.

“They based that on what happened previously, that we made a lot of arrests during May and June, and not many of those cases were prosecuted to the fullest extent. We have to have consequences for the arrests that Chicago police officers make,” he said.

Foxx pushed back later that day at a press conference.

“Those cases where the facts and evidence support it, charges were filed, and those cases are pending to this day,” she said.

A heightened law enforcement presence was installed downtown following the looting.

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Volunteers help clean up the parking lot outside a Best Buy store in Chicago on Aug. 10, 2020. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo)
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A Chicago police officer inspects an Apple store that was vandalized in Chicago on Aug. 10, 2020. (Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters)

Under a plan unveiled Friday aimed at protecting the city against unrest, officers from several teams will move to quickly respond to reports of looting while resources from other departments, including the Department of Sanitation, will be mobilized to maintain control of the area “through tactics such as traffic control,” CPD said in a statement. Illinois State Police officers and Cook County Sheriff deputies will assist Chicago officers.

The department’s Community Policing team, meanwhile, is partnering with business, faith, and other community leaders to conduct weekly meetings to try to improve relations and prepare for potential incidents.

Another component of the plan already took place. Officials created a special task force, with the help of the FBI, to specifically manage looting cases. Detectives on the task force are reviewing evidence including video footage to identify perpetrators and build strong cases against them.

City workers are also exploring new laws and regulations that would give CPD greater flexibility in prosecuting cases and helping develop new ways to shut down parts of the city in the event of more looting, Lightfoot told reporters at a press conference.

The mayor personally thanked Foxx for “her initiative, her leadership, and her support in this effort.”

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