Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the alderman representing the city's Bridgeport neighborhood have both denounced "vigilante violence" following reports of armed vigilantes disturbing protests in the South Side community.
Videos posted to social media have showed individuals armed with bats patrolling neighborhood streets during peaceful protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
At a news conference Thursday, Mayor Lightfoot said it's "absolutely not appropriate for people to take up arms."
"I absolutely support neighbors being vigilant as to what's going on on their streets and in their blocks, but taking up arms, that leads to chaos," she adamantly stated. "And we're not supporting vigilantism in the city of Chicago under any circumstances."
Ald. Patrick Thompson, of the city's 11th Ward, stated that safety is "of the utmost importance" for his constituents, but he will not condone "vigilante violence and intimidation."
"The peaceful protests have unfortunately been tarnished and overtaken by outside organizations, whose primary goal is to cause harm to local businesses and neighborhoods," he said. "It is those anarchists and terrorists that were creating feat throughout our community."
Ald. Thompson added that the few residents who took it upon themselves to carry bats, sticks and canes were wrong, and everyone should treat each other the way they want to be treated.
City officials encourage those who believe they're in danger to call 911.