Fighting, cellphone thefts and disobedience ran rampant as about 500 young people descended on downtown Chicago Wednesday night, forcing hundreds of cops into the streets to try to corral them, authorities said.
The approximate 200 police officers on horseback, foot and bikes, made several arrests as the rowdy crowds spread throughout the busy streets and parks of the downtown area. Officers called in Chicago Public Schools principals to talk to some of the kids and try to help restore order, Chicago police Chief Fred Waller said.
The largest of the groups dispersed and boarded Chicago Transit Authority trains, police said.
Police said 26 juveniles were arrested in the scene. The 20 boys and six girls face misdemeanors, though all were turned back over to their families, police said.
"The challenge is to keep the public safe," Waller said. "To make sure that the citizens who come to enjoy Chicago remain safe. The ones who don’t want to comply and don’t want to do the right thing, don't want to follow the law - they will be arrested."