Chicago Police

Chicago Police Reveal Plans For Future Large Downtown Teen Gatherings in Statement

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The Chicago Police Department has released a statement revealing plans for any future large teen gatherings in the Loop in the wake of chaotic disturbances last weekend that resulted in property damage, physical assaults and more than a dozen arrests.

Police said officers routinely monitor social media platforms to see if any large gatherings are possible downtown, while touting added security measures in a statement.

"The Chicago Police Department's top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our residents and visitors, including our city's youth. The reckless, disruptive and violent behavior that was seen downtown this past weekend will not be tolerated. We encourage our young people to be safe and responsible as they enjoy their weekends, but anyone engaged in criminal activity will be arrested and held accountable."

"We actively and continuously review open source social media and additional resources will be available to protect those who are visiting, living or working in the areas of large gatherings. Resources include an increased police and command staff presence at these gatherings citywide. Our Strategic Decision Support Centers (SDSCs) will also be monitoring all activity and police cameras to assist in the proactive reallocation of resources when necessary."   

"Additional security measures such as bag checks at beach entry points and the curfew for minors at Millennium Park will also be in place. CPD is also working closely with youth and outreach workers for when these gatherings occur."   

"We strongly encourage parents to accompany their teens or have them remain under the supervision of a responsible adult. We will continue working alongside our community organizations and leaders to provide safe spaces and alternatives for our youth across the city."   

Community activist and former gubernatorial candidate Tio Hardiman said that increased police presence is not the answer to the issue, while advocating for 24-hour recreation centers to serve as outlets for teens across Chicago.

Pastor Corey Brooks told NBC 5 he would be downtown aiming to direct teens away from trouble this weekend as another gathering is anticipated on Saturday evening.

Among the many affected from the chaos that has afflicted downtown Chicago in recent years, the Illinois Restaurant Association also expressed concern.

"This is not just a Chicago issue, but a national one," IRA CEO and President Sam Toia said in an emailed statement to NBC 5, adding that the association is in "constant communication" with elected officials, including Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson "to ensure there is a plan to keep the peace and enforce existing laws."

Officers made 15 arrests during Saturday’s mayhem, though Downtown Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said there could have been “dozens more” if not for the “hostility and violence” that confronted officers who attempted to move into the crowd. That included numerous reports of officers and other people being punched, kicked and pelted with bottles and other objects.

In one instance, a couple walking in the Loop Saturday got caught up in the large group of young adults and was brutally assaulted. The assault, captured on cell phone video and originally posted by CWB Chicago, shows a large group of people viciously attacking the couple, punching and kicking both of them.

“We were trying to walk through the crowd, and I was holding his hand and he was walking in front me,” said Ashley Knutson, who was assaulted along with boyfriend Devontae Garrisson-Johnson.“

"First they shoved him, and then they ended up shoving me too.”

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