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City investigating viral video of people atop a raised Chicago bridge

A man claimed the bridge was raised as they were walking across it; city says no way.

Three people on the Franklin-Orleans Street bridge.
The city is investigating after a video was posted on social media showing six people sitting atop a raised bridge over the Chicago River.
via Facebook

A video showing a group of people “chilling” atop a raised bridge over the Chicago River has gone viral with claims the city lifted the bridge while they were walking across.

City officials deny those claims outright and believe the six people scaled the Franklin-Orleans Street bridge after it was raised.

The post shows a man recording video at some point during the evening, their feet dangling as they laugh with a picturesque view of the city. More than 100 feet below them is the Chicago River.

Michael Claffey, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation, said the department is aware of the video that showed the group engaging in “extremely reckless and potentially deadly behavior.”

Downtown bridges are controlled by the Chicago Department of Transportation. The agency didn’t answer questions about how a group of people could climb a bridge without being notice by city officials or if raised bridges are monitored at all times.

Still, Claffey said, the agency is working with the Chicago Police Department to hold these individuals “accountable for trespassing.”

CPD declined to comment about the investigation.

Chicago raised most bridges along the Chicago River this spring and summer as a means of protecting the city’s downtown during civil unrest.

Critics of the move have said it is a racist and classist policy that attempts to segregate the city further. The city lifted its restriction to Loop bridges earlier this week.

The original poster of the video has himself been critical of the raised bridges, according to his public Facebook page. Since he has not been charged with a crime, the Sun-Times is not publicly naming him.

Various Twitter accounts and Facebook pages reposted the video soon after it was posted. One Twitter account garnered more than 4 million views.

The man and one of his compatriots also changed their Facebook profile photo which shows them either scaling or climbing down from the bridge.

Neither responded to requests for comment.

Bridges over the Chicago River on Aug. 9, 2020.
Bridges over the Chicago River were raised downtown to limit access to the Loop and River North after looting broke out the night of Aug. 9.
Sun-Times file

Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.