Chicago protests of George Floyd death, looting and aftermath live blog: June 2, 2020

Here’s what happening today after a weekend of protests, as well as vandalism and looting in Chicago following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

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State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, speaks at a news conference on Tuesday.

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10:30 p.m. Trouble follows some residents’ plan to guard their neighborhoods after unrest

Little Village business owner Augustin Torres couldn’t sleep Monday night, worrying tensions were mounting between those in the neighborhood and African Americans protesting the death of George Floyd.

He wasn’t so much concerned about his business, El Tecolote Ostioneria & Restaurant, along 26th Street, as much as he worried that things would get out of hand and someone would get hurt. He started to worry more after watching a video on Facebook warning African Americans to stay away from Latino neighborhoods like Little Village.

“We are in the same boat,” Torres said, as he watched men board up his restaurant Tuesday afternoon. “We have to live together.”

As the public was blocked from the Loop after violent looting and protests over the weekend, people have taken to protesting and damaging businesses in the neighborhoods. In pockets of the city like Little Village, residents have decided to take it upon themselves to guard businesses. But some worry the effort has further stoked an already divided city.

In Back of the Yards, Berto Aguayo, the co-founder of Increase the Peace, is just starting to get his voice back. He spent hours Sunday screaming at people who threw objects at African Americans passing through the South Side neighborhood. The organization was among the groups trying to protect small businesses from vandalism.

“We don’t do that,” Aguayo said he’d told people Sunday. “We are here peacefully.”

Read the full report from Elvia Malagon and Sam Charles here.

9:28 p.m. Lawmakers want money to rebuild areas wracked by looting and reforms to end racism that ‘has torn us apart’

SPRINGFIELD — Seeking to address the systemic racism plaguing the nation and the painful looting that devastated the South and West sides, African American state legislators on Tuesday called for money to rebuild, criminal justice reforms to heal and an executive order from Gov. J.B. Pritzker to “to immediately respond to the crisis in our community.”

The message from the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus was delivered in front of a boarded-up shopping center on the South Side as the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has renewed peaceful protests demanding police and criminal justice reforms across the nation, and has also raised questions in Chicago about why police couldn’t better protect neighborhoods on the South and West sides.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, called for Pritzker to sign an executive that he says will free up spending to help rebuild African-American communities around the state in the wake of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the looting.

“We know the black community has been hit the hardest by COVID-19, the black community has been hit the hardest by violence, the black community has been hit the hardest by police brutality and the black community has been hit the hardest by the recent looting and riots,” Ford said.

Read the full story from Neal Earley here.

7:20 p.m. Here’s how you can help looted Chicago businesses rebuild

By the time Kareem Matariyeh arrived Sunday night at his family’s liquor store in Marquette Park, flames had already engulfed the business.

Like countless other storefronts in the city, the Quick Stop at 2424 W. 71stSt. was targeted by vandals and looters amid the unrest that’s gripped the city and much of the country in the wake of protests over the officer-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Now, as protesters continue to fight against police brutality and broader systemic racism in Chicago and beyond, Matariyeh and others are launching crowdfunding campaigns to repair minority-owned businesses that have been ransacked and destroyed in the fallout.

Matariyeh said his father and uncle “built the store from nothing” after emigrating from Belize at a young age. Over three decades after opening, all that’s left now is “ashes and garbage and wood thrown everywhere,” he noted.

“It’s just a mess right now. It’s really sad to see,” addedMatariyeh, whose family is Muslim and lives in Ford City.

Read the full story by Tom Schuba here.

6:55 p.m. ‘Black-Owned Business’ signs show solidarity in communities hit hard by looting

After large-scale protests in response to the death of George Floyd devolved into violence and looting downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods, many small businesses in Chicago have been hurt by property damage and inventory loss.

Keeana Barber, owner and CEO of WDB Marketing Group, said she was distressed to see businesses damaged, especially knowing that many black-owned businesses were among those affected. After a conversation with a friend about what could be done to help protect local businesses, Barber realized she could use her unique skill set and resources to help.

The Roseland native enlisted her company’s printing services to produce signs that read “Black-Owned Business” and “Don’t Destroy Our Black Business,” and set to work distributing them to stores, particularly on the hard-hit South and West sides.

Read the full story by Evan F. Moore here.

5:52 p.m. Man in Joker mask set Chicago police car on fire during George Floyd protests, feds say

Federal prosecutors have charged a Pilsen man with arson after he was caught on camera setting fire to a Chicago police vehicle while wearing a Joker mask.

Timothy O’Donnell, 31, is charged in an eight-page, photo-filled criminal complaint. The feds tied him to the incident through a “PRETTY” tattoo seen on the neck of the person wearing the mask. The feds say O’Donnell also admitted being the person who wore the Joker mask after his arrest Tuesday.

O’Donnell is now among at least five people facing federal charges in connection with the rioting and looting in Chicago last weekend.

A video of the incident that allegedly involved O’Donnell Saturday in the 200 block of North State was given to law enforcement by a witness, according to the complaint. It allegedly shows O’Donnell wearing the Joker mask, holding a lit object and placing it in the gas tank of the CPD vehicle. Prosecutors said the vehicle burst into flames.

Read the full story here.

5:08 p.m. Lightfoot, Brown defend policing decisions during ongoing protests

For the second straight day, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown on Tuesday defended the decisions they have made to protect a city under siege.

From using 375 Illinois National Guard troops — but only to control the downtown perimeter — to steering clear of tear gas to the extraordinary decision to shut down the entire CTA system, Lightfoot defended the difficult decisions she has made to keep Chicago safe.

“None of these decisions are easy. Not one. None of them will be easy for the foreseeable future,” Lightfoot said.

“But the voters elected me to make the right calls, the tough calls and not pander to the crowd, but to do what I felt was best based on the best information and listening to the experts that I have around me and listening to the voices of our residents who are hurting and in need. And that’s what I will continue to do.”

Chicago aldermen continue to second-guess those decisions. They have accused the mayor of being caught flat-footed by violent protests she should have anticipated, then belatedly imposing a curfew and sealing off downtown, which they say pushed looting, arson and mayhem into South and West Side neighborhoods.

Read the full story here.

4:51 p.m. Protests and peace: Pritzker, Preckwinkle, Cupich call for ‘peaceful action’ to stem ‘contagion’ of racism

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined Cardinal Blase and other faith and community activists to call for protests and peace, urging people to “seize this moment” without “destroying our communities.”

Cupich said “we should mourn,” and “we should be angry and hurt” about Floyd’s death at the hands of police, but he urged people not to “dishonor [Floyd’s] gentle memory with the sickness of violence.”

“We need peaceful action to stop the hatred that has ended the lives of countless Black Americans,” Cupich said.

“We know there is a contagion spreading across the land — not only the coronavirus, but racism,” Cupich said. “And we can stop it, and that begins by making the unwavering commitment today to cleanse our hearts so that it will not infect our homes and our children.”

The Tuesday afternoon news conference at KLEO Art Residences on the city’s South Side follows another day of protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and looting in Chicago.

Read the full story here.

3:14 p.m. Chicago police officers’ radios crackled with rogue messages during weekend of chaos

Hackers interrupted Chicago’s police radio system over the weekend with everything from anti-cop music to pro-police slogans as dispatchers struggled to answer calls during the looting and gun violence.

“It’s a very dangerous thing that they’re doing,” said Dan Casey, deputy director of public safety information technology in the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Hackers interrupted a Chicago police radio frequency with music Sunday. In a video, two unidentified men laughed as they listened to it on this scanner.YouTube screenshot

Casey said recordings of the rogue transmissions are being provided to local and federal authorities, who will investigate. That investigation comes as local and federal authorities continue to investigate claims that extremist groups made orchestrated efforts to undermine otherwise peaceful protests in attempts to stoke division across America.

“Jamming,” as it’s called, is illegal and can carry heavy prison time. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an eight-year prison sentence for a man who jammed police radio frequencies in Madison, Wisconsin.

More than 130,000 people have viewed a YouTube video posted Sunday in which two men are heard laughing as what they think is Serbian music playing over a scanner on a Chicago police frequency as an officer tries to get help transporting prisoners.

Read the full story here.

3 p.m. Suburban communities clean up after night of looting, protests

Lisa Collins watched the surveillance video of a handful of strangers rampaging through her downtown Naperville jewelry store Monday night, overturning tables, breaking things — and she found it “heartbreaking.”

“They were looking to make a statement, do some damage and that’s what they did,” Collins said Tuesday morning as she returned to clean up after a night of destruction.

Collins’ store, Lauren Rae, had just reopened May 28 after the easing of statewide pandemic restrictions.

Naperville was one of many suburban communities hit by vandalism and looting in the unrest triggered by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It was the same day Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced he was sending the Illinois National Guard into the suburbs to help out.

A 25-year-old man was being held in the DuPage County jail on $1 million bail Tuesday after he allegedly approached the village of Lombard municipal campus a day earlier holding a lighter in one hand and a Molotov cocktail in the other, according to the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office. Christian Frazee, a Lombard resident, is charged with attempted terrorism and possession of an incendiary device.

Read the full story here.

2:49 p.m. COLUMN: ‘For God’s sake,’ looting undercuts George Floyd protests and won’t end racist policing

A man of rare emotion, my ex-husband was disgusted, saddened.

“No grocery stores are open — looted, or closed for fear of looting,” he said Monday. “They hit the Walgreens for God’s sake! We can’t get his medicine.”

That’s the Walgreens at 4748 W. North Ave., and the medicine, for our son.

“What a bunch of a-holes. They hit everything. The bank, the dollar store, the furniture store. Where are people going to shop for food?” he asked.

“And the seniors, where will they get medicines?”

He lives on the West Side, and had our medically fragile son for the weekend when all hell broke loose in the wake of the cellphone-videoed killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, yet another black man killed by police.

Protests began peacefully but grew violent as they unfurled across the nation, a Band-Aid again ripped off the festering wound of racism that too often seeps into America’s policing.

Enough is enough. These kind of police killings can’t continue, protesters are saying. I agree. Killed similarly in 2014, Eric Garner allegedly was selling loose cigarettes. Floyd died for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

Read the full commentary by Maudlyne Ihejirika here.

12:21 p.m. Lightfoot rejects Trump’s threat to send in military: ‘I’ll see him in court’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday dismissed President Donald Trump’s threat to “deploy the United States military” to areas where unrest continues in the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“That’s not gonna happen,” Lightfoot said at a morning news conference. “I will see him in court.”

Trump had made the announcement at the White House Monday.

“Keep in mind, this is a man who likes to bluster,” Lightfoot said. “Let’s not overreact.”

But, she added, “we’re not having military roam our streets. ... They have not built trust and authentic relationships with people in our community.”

Lightfoot said much time and effort was spent to build those relationships, and “we are not gonna throw that out the window.” She has “watched with great horror” when the National Guard has been “embedded with local police” in other cities, and the results have been tragic — injuries, she said, “and even death.”

Read the full story here.

11:17 a.m. Seeing black squares on your Instagram feed? Here’s why

If you checked your Instagram feed Tuesday, you might have noticed many accounts you follow — whether they belong to friends, or celebrities — posting black images in lieu of photos.

The gesture represents participation in Blackout Tuesday, a movement that’s encouraging people to halt social media posting for the day to take a stand against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other incidents of police brutality across America.

The movement follows multiple days of unrest in cities across the country that have included peaceful protests, and well as looting, arsons and clashes with police.

Read the full story here.

9:57 a.m. Chicago business owners start picking up the pieces

Business owners and community members were left picking up the pieces Monday after looters ransacked an untold number of storefronts across Chicago the day before.

As Chicago police prioritized protecting the Loop from another round of destructive protests after demonstrations Saturday devolved into chaos, many neighborhood businesses said they were left vulnerable to pillaging with officers stretched so thin.

In addition to the South and West sides, which were rampaged by looters, hot retail corridors in Wicker Park, West Town and the West Loop were also hit, among many other neighborhoods. Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday admonished those responsible for stealing from their communities and likened looting a business to “destroying someone’s dreams.”

Have businesses in your neighborhood been looted?
Do you own a business that was damaged over the weekend, or have evidence of vandalism or looting in your community? Email audience@suntimes.com to share with our reporters.

“Those small businesses sacrificed and saved money to have their dream realized,” said Lightfoot. “They hired employees from your neighborhood to serve you. You took their hope and destroyed it. God help us all if we believe we can express our pain by destroying hopes, dreams and fortunes of others.”

Lillian Wright, a nail technician at 79 Nails at 305 E. 79thSt., was in disbelief Monday afternoon as she stood on shattered glass from the store’s windows.

The night before, looters stole almost everything from the salon, including the cash register. The only thing that remained was a television mounted to a wall.

“This is one of the shops on 79thStreet with all black workers,” said Wright, who’s African American. “This has never happened. This doesn’t make sense. This is not protesting. This is looting.”

Read the full story here.

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