Mayor: Chicago under lockdown for 'foreseen days' after looting

Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) declared that Chicago is under lockdown for the “foreseen days” after widespread looting broke out in the city early Monday morning. 

The Chicago mayor announced during a Monday press conference that she instituted a community protection program involving a lockdown and increased police presence “for the foreseen days until we know that our neighborhoods are safe.”

"These individuals engaged in what only could be described as brazen and extensive criminal looting and destruction,” Lightfoot said. “To be clear, this had nothing to do with legitimate, protected First Amendment expression.”

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Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said the “heavy police presence” in downtown Chicago will continue “until further notice.” He said several agencies are developing a “multilayered plan” to respond to looting “based on lessons we learned earlier this summer” during the George Floyd protests. 

“This is a beautiful city and Chicago police officers will not allow this selfish criminal act to destroy what generations of hard work have built,” he said during the press conference.

He said all officers will work 12-hour shifts and all days off have been canceled “until further notice.”

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The looting and vandalism broke out shortly after midnight on Monday, leading to almost five hours of vandalism, the Chicago Tribune reported. At least 100 people were arrested throughout the night, as of Monday morning. 

Brown said 13 officers were injured during the looting, including a sergeant who was hit with a bottle and another whose nose was broken during a fight with looters. Overall, 400 officers were deployed during the night. 

Officials said the looting and vandalism was sparked by incorrect reports of a police shooting of an unarmed adolescent in the Englewood area. The police superintendent said during the briefing that the shooting involved a 20-year-old man who had shot at police while fleeing. He is expected to survive. 

“Tempers flared fueled by misinformation as the afternoon turned into evening,” Brown said.

But the mayor said the perceived “justification” doesn’t matter.  

“Regardless what occurred, in our downtown and surrounding communities was abject, criminal behavior pure and simple,” Lightfoot said. “And there cannot be any excuse for it. Period.”

Like in many U.S. cities, protests had broken out in Chicago in late May and early June over police brutality after Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody. Some of the protests turned violent and erupted into looting, including in Minneapolis, Atlanta and Chicago, prompting curfews, but most remained peaceful.