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Report: 'Caravans' of Looters Drove Into Downtown Chicago

Newser — Kate Seamons

"We are waking up in shock this morning," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said of the unrest and looting that plagued part of downtown in the wee hours of Monday.

She referred to the damage done as "straight-up felony criminal conduct" that was totally unrelated to the "righteous uprising" that happened in the wake of George Floyd's death.

As earlier reported, the genesis of the looting seems to be a Sunday afternoon shooting in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side. Police responding to reports of an armed man said they shot and struck a 20-year-old who had fired at officers.

He is expected to survive, but Police Superintendent David Brown says social media posts emerged that advocated looting, reports CBS Chicago, with the Chicago Tribune adding that some of the posts claimed the suspect who was shot was 15 years old.

"Tempers flared, fueled by misinformation as the afternoon turned into evening," says Brown. "That grew and grew into the late-night hours." More:

  • CBS Chicago describes "caravans of cars" streaming into downtown, with looters bringing with them boxes of rocks and bricks.

Brown says 13 responding officers were injured, with one suffering a broken nose.

  • The bridges spanning the Chicago River downtown were briefly raised, some bus and train lines were temporarily halted, and more than 100 arrests were made by 9am, reports the Tribune, with investigators poring over surveillance footage in hopes of identifying more looters.
  • The New York Times describes the aftermath: "Business owners began to pick through the damage: cash registers overturned in a pharmacy, windows broken at high-end stores, empty boxes scattered outside a jewelry store."
  • The Tribune reports criticism is being hurled at the city as well, largely over the fact that it took officers four hours to contain the situation.

The paper flags the reaction of Downtown Ald. Brian Hopkins, who says he was on the scene on Michigan Avenue from midnight to 4am and faulted Lightfoot for apparently not creating a looting response plan after it occurred in May and June.

  • The Sun-Times has more from Lightfoot, who spoke at a Monday press conference from police headquarters: "Criminals took to the streets with the confidence that there would be no consequences for their actions. You have no right, no right to take and destroy the property of others. We are coming for you. ... I don’t care what justification was given for this. There is no justification."
  • Restrictions will be in place downtown from 8pm until 6am beginning Monday night.

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