108 arrests, officer’s wrist broken in downtown Floyd protests
Several protesters could be seen throwing bottles, climbing onto cars and damaging property near State and Harrison streets before officers took multiple people into custody early Saturday.
Outrage over the death of George Floyd at the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer hit the streets of Chicago, as hours of protests ended early Saturday with smashed Loop windows, more than 100 arrests, a dozen injured officers and still-simmering anger.
By the wee hours near State and Harrison, several protesters — from among a crowd that at times numbered several hundred people — could be seen throwing bottles, climbing onto cars and damaging property before officers took multiple people into custody.
Damage was also reported to multiple city vehicles, police said, with the last stragglers dispersing by about 5 a.m.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said 108 protesters were arrested in the demonstrations that “began peaceful and ended a little bit more aggressive and intense.”
One person was arrested carrying a gun, and another will face aggravated battery charges for allegedly breaking an officer’s wrist during a Loop confrontation, Brown said at a Saturday morning news conference. Other officers suffered minor injuries.
“Some in the crowd began confronting the police, so we had to take swift action so that the violence and property damage wouldn’t escalate,” Brown said. “We think we hit the right tone as it relates to allowing those who want to express their First Amendment right, and crossing the line to property damage and violence — we took swift action.”
Brown called the property damage “minimal,” though several storefronts were smashed. It wasn’t clear if anything was taken.
With another demonstration planned for 2 p.m. Saturday at Federal Plaza, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said “we’re not going to tolerate” lawlessness.
“Peaceful protesting is part of who we are as Americans, who we are as a democracy,” Lightfoot said. “But when it crosses the line, we have to take action. Everybody has rights, and it is righteous to be angry and to be frustrated.
“My hope is that if there is an additional protest ... that the vast majority of people will conduct themselves the way the vast majority of people conducted themselves yesterday, which is peaceful,” Lightfoot said.
City officials enacted a large downtown parking ban ahead of Saturday’s protests, barring vehicles from Chicago Avenue south to Congress, and from Lake Shore Drive west to Wells.
Chicago’s latest segment of the unrest that has spread to dozens of cities across the nation started near Millennium Park about 5 p.m. Friday with a crowd toting signs declaring “Justice 4 George” and “Black Lives Matter” as they marched against traffic, south down Michigan Avenue.
“Say his name! George Floyd!” they chanted, also yelling “I can’t breathe!” — what Floyd had said several times during the more than eight minutes now former-officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck as he lay face-down on a street earlier in the week. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder.
Before the early morning property damage, the Chicago demonstration remained mostly peaceful as protesters marched through the Loop. It eventually splintering into smaller groups including one that gathered near President Donald Trump’s namesake tower about midnight.
Contributing: Manny Ramos, Maudlyne Ihejirika and Madeline Kenney