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Chicago Police arrest 88 ahead of Fourth of July weekend

Chicago Police Department Supt. Eddie Johnson | Brian Jackson/Sun Times file photo

Raids targeting street gang members ahead of the Fourth of July weekend resulted in 88 arrests, the Chicago Police Department said Saturday.

The raids targeted gang members in the 11th and 15th districts on the city’s West Side on Friday, police said.

Of the 88 people arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges, 76 were on the department’s Strategic Subject List, and 55 were convicted felons, police said. Sixteen were on parole for earlier convictions.

Police seized eight firearms, including an assault weapon and two handguns, during a traffic stop Friday in the 5500 block of West Potomac Street. Members of the department’s Gang Enforcement Unit found the weapons while monitoring suspected gang activity in the 4900 block of West Crystal Drive when they stopped a Chevrolet Impala, and three people ran from the car, police said.

An assault weapon was recovered by Chicago Police during a traffic stop in the 5500 block of West Potomac Street Friday. | Chicago Police provided photo
An assault weapon was recovered by Chicago Police during a traffic stop in the 5500 block of West Potomac Street Friday. | Chicago Police provided photo

Two of the suspects, both documented gang members, were eventually caught and taken into custody, police said.

The raids followed others in the 19th District earlier in the week when 27 people were charged with felony drug crimes, police said.

Supt. Eddie Johnson said the raids sent a clear signal to gang members ahead of the July 4 weekend that police “will come at [gangs] with every tool we have to keep our communities safe.”

On Saturday, Chicago Police held an outdoor roll call intended as a show of force during the holiday weekend.

Police helicopters, SWAT members, bomb, traffic and canine units were at the roll call at police headquarters before being deployed.

“We’re just trying to reinforce the message to the city, the citizens of the city, as well as to those committing the crime that, ‘We’ll find a way to get you,'” First Deputy Supt. John Escalante said.

Given that the July Fourth holiday is often a violent one and a strong tourism weekend, “We’re doing everything we can to limit the violence,” he said.

Chicago Police are working with the FBI, the Cook County Sheriff and state troopers. About 5,000 officers are on duty around the clock for the next few days, Escalante said.