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Police arrest 30 in fights, traffic tie-ups downtown Wednesday night

More than 200 officers confronted groups of teens who fought each other, struck strangers and blocked traffic, according to Chicago police. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Chicago police arrested at least 30 people Wednesday evening as hundreds of teenagers converged on several areas throughout downtown causing mayhem.

More than 200 officers confronted groups of teens that fought each other, struck strangers and blocked traffic, according to Chicago Police Department Deputy Chief of Area Central Kevin Ryan.

In all, between 300 and 500 teens and young adults made their way from near the Magnificent Mile to Millennium Park and finally to State and Lake in front of the Chicago Theatre, Ryan said.

The action started early in the evening near Chicago Avenue and State Street in front of a CTA Red Line station that is infamous for crowds causing trouble in the summer.

Chicago police arrested at least 30 people Wednesday evening as hundreds of teenagers converged on several areas throughout downtown causing mayhem, police said. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times
Chicago police arrested at least 30 people Wednesday evening as hundreds of teenagers converged on several areas throughout downtown causing mayhem, police said. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

After moving from one area to another, almost 200 teens were still at State and Lake until 10 p.m. as officers made more arrests while traffic was blocked. Two teens or young men were brought to the ground by officers in the middle of State Street.

The 30 arrests were for disorderly conduct, theft, obstruction of traffic and battery, Ryan said. At least two strangers were punched in the face while crossing the street, one of whom ran away, according to police. One teenager was arrested for possessing a Taser.

After a series of similar nights last summer, Chicago police prepared for downtown mayhem this year, Ryan said. Though “it wasn’t pretty,” he said the plan generally worked since there was no major property damage and only minor injuries.