Latest Updates: Chicago Prepares for Weekend With Protests Planned

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As Chicago braces for another summer weekend potentially filled with protests, city officials say they are preparing.

Multiple demonstrations have been planned over the weekend following several throughout this week in wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha.

Here are the latest update on how Chicago is preparing:

Father Pfleger Plans 'Stop Killing Us' Rally Over Dan Ryan Expressway

Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church plans to hold a "stop killing us" rally on the overpass of the Dan Ryan Expressway at 76th Street.

The event aims "to protest the continued racism in America that continues to make black men an endangered species Purpose Over Pain." Attendees plan to hold signs that read “Stop Killing Us,” during rush hour.

Multiple Demonstrations Planned for Saturday

Multiple demonstrations are being planned in Chicago Saturday afternoon and evening.

At 4 p.m., a group is set to conduct a "Back the Blue" shopping spree on the Magnificent Mile, according to social media. It's unclear how many people plan to attend the event.

An hour later, a Black Lives Matter event aims to "shut down the Magnificent Mile."

Supt. Brown Says CPD, City 'Hope For the Best, Prepare for the Worst'

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown on Friday spoke about the city's weekend safety preparations.

"Chicago belongs to all of us. And that means all of us. Chicago Police Department is sworn to serve and protect everyone. That includes protecting our First Amendment right, our sacred right to protest. That also means protecting all of us from violence or harm. We can and we will do both," Brown said.

He offered few details on the city's plans for handling any potential demonstrations, but referred to measures that were recently put in place. He said an additional 200 officers with a newly-formed critical incident response team will focus on downtown areas, while 500 other officers with the new community safety team will be stationed throughout city neighborhoods.

"There's been a few more protests where we have taken a firm stance and ensuring First Amendment protest rights, but also when you cross the line, and meet out violence and start attacking or destroying persons and property that we will take swift enforcement action," he said. "So we've spun up our ability to protect ourselves with helmets and rock and bottle shields, because people have thrown things at us, and we've also created our rescue teams to be able to go into a crowd and arrest those agitators that are embedded in a crowd so that we can all be safe when we exercise our First Amendment right."

He added that the city is "preparing for agitators."

"We always hope for the best and prepare for the worst," Brown said. "That's just a mission of policing right now. We are hoping for peaceful protest, but we're preparing if agitators come in and want to do something different."

Brown addressed unrest in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King.

"Hate can never drive out hate. Never. Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can. Two wrongs have never made a right.nAn eye for an eye just makes us both blind," Brown said. "So it's not lost on me that this is the 57th anniversary of Mr. King's 'I Have a Dream' speech and I just wanted to relay those brief messages from Dr. King from history."

Downtown Businesses Prepare for Weekend Activity

Several downtown businesses on Thursday began boarding up storefronts to prepare for what they worry will be a third bout of looting, this time in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

"I boarded up the whole store because I don’t want to see the third time it happens," said Raki Mehra of Hubbard & State Cigar Shop, "because twice in two and half months, that is quite a bit.”

Mehra fears that the Kenosha shooting could cause looting in Chicago, which happened after the death of George Floyd and then just weeks ago after a police shooting in Englewood.

Chicago Conducts Public Safety Drill Downtown Thursday Evening

The city of Chicago blocked off multiple intersections in downtown Chicago Thursday evening as part of a precautionary public safety drill.

The drill started at 6 p.m. in the city's "Central Business District" and was expected to last until 9 p.m., according to the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Access to the area itself wasn't restricted, but residents encountered some traffic disruptions during the drill.

The perimeters for the drill included: Division Street on the north, 18th Street on the south, Clark Street on the west and Lake Shore Drive on the east.

"The drill is part of the City’s ongoing effort to engineer security measures in order to mitigate risk to the Central Business District," OEMC said in a statement.

On Wednesday, city employees were seen putting large barricades up at several intersections in Streeterville and the Gold Coast, including on East Oak Street, East Walton Street and North Michigan Avenue.

OEMC called those barriers part of the city's "critical infrastructure assets... staged at various access points."

"The focus of this exercise is to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, workers, businesses and peaceful gatherings. The drill is not in response to any event but has been planned for weeks as part of our ongoing safety efforts," OEMC added.

Chicago Ald. Brian Hopkins of the 2nd Ward on Wednesday said he was concerned about what he called a "spillover effect" from unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after police shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, on Sunday in an incident that was captured on video and sparked outrage nationwide.

While Hopkins said there were a "variety of rumored events that may or may not happen," he noted that he didn't "want to jump at every shadow" and "can't react to all of them."

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