Chicago police, city officials bracing for potential civil unrest

Chicago News
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CHICAGO — Chicago aldermen anticipate demonstrations when police release body cam video of 13-year-old Adam Toledo’s officer-involved shooting.

For days, Chicago police and city aldermen have planned for possible unrest in the hopes of avoiding a repeat of last summer’s riots. Tuesday night, the city remains on edge as extra police are on patrol and businesses have begun to board up.

“The city is already struggling and now to be in this position to have potential unrest again is very disturbing,” Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward).

From the North Side to the South Side to the West Side, aldermen have been in touch with local businesses and police. 

“We started getting ready early yesterday,” Beale said. “Reached out to my commander and we put the same plan in place that we did the last time we had civil unrest in the community. We know the potential targets and we’re going to prepare for those targets. Working with my commander and working with Streets and Sans and making sure that we’re prepared.”

City officials say a repeat of last summer looting and rioting would be devastating to an economy already battered by COVID-19 shutdowns. 

“We had a briefing last week with the superintendent about what we can expect,” Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward). “Basically, it was more of the same we saw last year, canceled days off, 12 hours shifts, city equipment out on the streets. That didn’t work so well last year. We saw a lot of neighborhoods were under attack. A lot of damage through the communities.”

The Toledo case is not the sole reason for officials’ concerns. The ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd, and the recent killing of Daunte Wright in Minnesota have also raised tensions. But the hope is Chicagoans remain peaceful. 

“People have to be civil,” Ald. Nick Sposato (38th Ward). “If you don’t agree with something, burning and looting is not the answer. I 100% support the First Amendment right. If you want to march, peacefully protest. I’m not a big fan of blocking the street and obstructing traffic, but if you’ve got to do it, you’ve got to do it. But certainly looting and burning is not the answer.”

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