Chicago’s top cop on Lake Shore Drive protest, Lollapalooza security

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CHICAGO -- Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson stopped by WGN Wednesday and shared how police plan to deal with the security challenges posed by a planned "Stop the Violence" protest and the Lollapalooza music festival.

Activists organizing the protest say they plan to close Lake Shore Drive's northbound lanes from Diversey to Belmont at 4 p.m. Thursday, and then they will march west toward Wrigley Field.

"At the end of the day, our mission is to honor their 1st Amendment rights to protest peacefully and also to keep the public safe and look at how it's going to impact traffic," Johnson told WGN.

The Cubs are playing the Padres at home on the night of the protest, but Cubs officials say fans shouldn't worry about getting in and out of the Friendly Confines safely.

When asked about the uptick in these kinds of demonstrations -- traffic was halted on the Dan Ryan Expressway in early July -- Johnson responded: "We respect people's right to protest peacefully, but I wouldn't encourage people to get on the Dan Ryan Expressway or Lake Shore Drive because it's just dangerous. And if we're not out there to ensure that they're safe, then bad things can happen."

As for security at Lollapalooza, Johnson said police learned a lot from last year's mass shooting at an outdoor Las Vegas concert.

"Probably the most important thing we've learned is that now we have to pay attention to rooftops around venues of that nature. And we've partnered with the hotels and business owners right around Lollapalooza because public safety is everybody's responsibility," he said.

Watch Johnson's full interview with WGN in the player above.


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