Lightfoot urges ‘respectful’ celebrations following chaotic night of Mexican Independence Day revelry
Videos posted to social media showed traffic was at least briefly brought to a standstill on DuSable Lake Shore Drive as drifters spun their wheels near Soldier Field and the Museum Campus.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged residents to celebrate safely and responsibly after a raucous night of Mexican Independence Day revelry snarled traffic and provided an opportunity for ne’er-do-wells to commit two shootings downtown and a carjacking on DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
While showing appreciation for those who celebrated safely, Lightfoot advised against “anti-social behavior” such as honking horns and blasting music “all hours of the night.”
The mayor said revelers should celebrate “in a way that is respectful to all of our residents in all neighborhoods.”
In the last two days, officers have made seven arrests, recovered four firearms, impounded 16 vehicles and towed another three for violations connected to the celebrations, according to preliminary information from Chicago police.
The shootings both happened about 1 a.m. Saturday at different corners of the Loop.
A 32-year-old, was shot in the back by someone firing from a car after he got into a fight with another man in the 100 block of South Wacker Drive, police said. At the same time, a 27-year-old man was walking on a sidewalk in the 100 block of East Wacker Drive when he was attacked by a group of people and shot him in the head, police said.
Both were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and listed in good condition.
About two hours later, a carjacker forced five occupants out of a Nissan Rogue in the 1400 South block of Lake Shore Drive and then drove off in the car after also stealing several necklaces from the group, police said.
Despite the violent incidents, Lightfoot noted that, “Overall, this has been an incredibly peaceful and joyous set of celebrations.”
Police Supt. David Brown outlined police plans Saturday to combat criminal behavior and traffic problems as the city prepares for another night of celebrations after tens of thousands of residents flooded the downtown area last night.
Videos posted to social media showed muscle car drivers drifting at gridlocked intersections, people climbing atop vehicles, setting off fireworks — and some throwing objects at overwhelmed police officers. One officer was hospitalized after he was hit with a frozen water bottle, Brown said.
Brown announced that vehicles caught drifting and drag racing would be towed and offenders could face up to $10,000 in fines. Brown said the department will use surveillance cameras to identify offending vehicles that could be towed at a later date. Officers will also be using tire deflation devices or “stop sticks” to help combat drag racing and drifting, he said.
Caravans took over intersections throughout the city, but the worst gridlock was in the Central Business District downtown, according to Brian McDermott, CPD’s chief of operations.
While there won’t be a “total closure” of the downtown area, “assets from all city departments will be in place to put closures in to cut off traffic if an area gets too congested,” McDermott said.