Access to downtown Chicago will be restricted overnight, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced Monday after chaos erupted in the city, leaving businesses damaged and several arrested.
Brown said access to the city's downtown will be "restricted" from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. as part of a multi-layer plan that was also used when looting and unrest unfolded in Chicago earlier this summer following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He did not specify what those restrictions would include and the mayor's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A heavy police presence is set to continue in downtown Chicago Monday, Brown said, noting that officers will be working on 12-hour shifts with no days off "until further notice."
"We are also working with other city agencies, including Streets and Sanitation, the CTA, the Department of Transportation and the state police and other agents in a multi-layered plan which will be based on lessons we've learned from earlier this summer," Brown said.
Already Monday, the chaos led to several transportation and street closures that limited access both in and out of the city.
The unrest began at around 12:20 a.m., when police were called to reports of a mob scene on Michigan Avenue. Large crowds gathered outside the Saks Fifth Avenue and Coach stores, with hundreds of people yelling and throwing things at officers.
Looters were captured on video in multiple locations, with merchandise taken and storefronts vandalized. Officers were told to respond wearing helmets and there were multiple reports of gunshots.
It appeared as though the looting initially began in the city's Loop, but spread to multiple Chicago neighborhoods in the overnight hours, with reports of businesses struck in River North, Streeterville, Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast and the South Loop as well.
The Chicago Transit Authority shut down all train and bus service downtown "at the request of public safety officials," the CTA said.
The bridges over the Chicago River were lifted at around 4:30 a.m., preventing further entry into and exit from the downtown area.
Illinois State Police confirmed at around 5 a.m. that Chicago police asked for assistance in blocking all expressway ramps going in and out of the city's Loop: from Cermak to I-55, I-94 from Roosevelt to Division and Congress Parkway from I-290.
At around 7:15 a.m., the city's Office of Emergency Management & Communications tweeted that the CTA was restoring service and bridges and expressway ramps downtown would be opening as various street closures remained in effect around the Loop.
Brown said more than 100 people were arrested for allegations of looting, disorderly conduct and more. More than a dozen police officers suffered injuries during the response.