Members of the National Guard have been called to Chicago as the city braces for additional protests following a night of destruction despite a citywide curfew, the city's mayor announced Sunday.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, at her request, "has ordered a contingent of the National Guard to maintain a limited presence to support our police department in order to not have a repeat of what we saw last night."
The move is in addition to a citywide curfew that remains in effect daily from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. "until further notice."
"I know many people are feeling scared and unsettled but I make no apologies," Lightfoot said. "I am always going to make the tough and necessary choice. Chicago is strong. This is our home. This is a city that we built with our blood sweat and tears."
Several Chicago streets and transportation routes will be shut down Sunday in preparation for additional protests after a night of unrest saw dozens of buildings damaged, vehicles burned and a curfew put in place.
Multiple routes to the Central Business District and Loop will be "temporarily reduced" Sunday, leaving only employees of area businesses and those who live there or work in essential activities allowed inside the boundaries.
Those boundaries include:
- Division St. from Lake Shore Drive and N. Halsted St.
- N. Halsted from Division St. to Milwaukee Ave. and Grand Ave.
- Milwaukee Ave. from Grand Ave. to Kinzie St.
- Canal St. from Kinzie St. to 26th St.
- 26th St. from Canal St. to Lake Shore Drive
In addition, several Chicago Transit Authority routes have been suspended in the area "for public safety reasons" as more protests are expected Sunday.
"Following today's announcement, the city is working closely with the organizers of rallies and protests scheduled to take place within the area this afternoon to provide an alternative, optional route for marches to peacefully and safely return in Chicago," the mayor's office said in a release.
Much of the city woke to a stream of damage that marked the path where protesters marched in downtown Chicago Saturday evening, leaving behind broken windows, graffiti and the shattered remains of some of the city's most popular shops.
See What Chicago, Michigan Avenue Looks Like After Night of Destruction Following Protests
Debris and shattered glass lined Michigan Avenue after thousands marched in the city to decry the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes.
Nearly every storefront on the popular strip saw some form of damage. Among them were Zara, Nike, CVS, Walgreens and Neiman Marcus, along with the Macy's storefront on State Street.
Several police cars were damaged, including at least one set on fire, as the first curfew began.
"To be clear, I've marched in a few protests in my day, but neither I nor anyone that I was with saw the need to bring weapons in order to lift up our voice and express our First Amendment rights," Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot condemned Floyd's death during a Saturday night news conference and defended the idea of demonstrating to honor him. But she added that a peaceful protest has “devolved into criminal conduct” and police will be aggressive with arrests for anyone caught damaging property.
“When you or anyone else behaves in this way, we all lose by giving the very same forces of oppression we are fighting against the false validation that they crave,” the mayor said.
Brown, who was out on the streets with city officers Saturday, said that while Floyd "did not deserve the treatment he received," those destroying property "are not representing the Floyd family in the right way."
"We will be taking you into custody when you destroy property...when you burn cars, when you break out windows," he said.
Still, even as officers lined city streets, the looting continued even into the morning hours as many residents came out to aid in clean-up effort.
Brown said dozens of officers were injured in clashes with protesters Saturday.
The demonstration came after Chicago officials, following Friday incidents that resulted in more than 100 arrests, asked that additional protests remain peaceful. Demonstrations are expected throughout the weekend over Floyd's death.
The violence in Chicago and many other cities was sparked by anger over over Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Monday, which was captured on cellphone video. It led to the firing Tuesday of the four police officers who were arresting Floyd for suspicion of passing a counterfeit bill and to third-degree murder and manslaughter charges being filed Friday against the officer who used his knee to pin Floyd down for more than eight minutes, even as Floyd pleaded for air and went limp.