Watch Chicago Police Supt. David Brown's 9 a.m. Friday press conference live in the player above.
As some downtown businesses prepare for the possibility of more Chicago unrest and potential looting, the city's police superintendent on Friday is expected to address weekend public safety plans.
Supt. David Brown will join community leaders at 9 a.m. Friday to "discuss public safety plans and preparations ahead of this weekend," according to the Chicago Police Department.
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.
The city of Chicago on Thursday conducted a public safety drill in the downtown area, which involved the installation of temporary barricades at multiple intersections. Though it was initially unclear if the drill was connected to weekend concerns, the city's Office of Emergency Management said the drill had been planned for weeks.
"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.
"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 ahead of the drill.
Chicago Ald. Brian Hopkins of the 2nd Ward on Wednesday called the changes "preparations put into place that take time," noting that Jersey wall barriers were "moving around at strategic locations" and that decorative flower pots were being used as barricades, placed on curb lanes and sidewalks that could "easily be moved if we have to block a street."
"There’s some tactical tools we’d like to use; we’re doing as much as we can in advance," Hopkins said.
Barriers were placed at several locations, including along Michigan Avenue and on Walton. Oak Street was also converted into a one-way street, turning it into an east-to-west thoroughfare.
Hopkins said he was concerned about what he called a "spillover effect" from unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but 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."
Kenosha is about 50 miles north of Chicago, where the city's mayor and top cop have themselves faced ongoing protests and unrest over police brutality and accountability in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May.
Brown said Monday that the department was monitoring the situation unfolding in Kenosha, calling the video of the police shooting "god-awful."
'This week will mark the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech," Brown said, when asked if he was concerned about unrest in Chicago in response to the Kenosha shooting.
"One of the things that was emphasized by Martin Luther King was, 'A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' So what happens in Wisconsin or any other city throughout our country does affect all of us, and yes, we are monitoring that situation," he continued.
"We are obviously preparing for a protest this coming weekend at the Mag Mile and all of our deployment strategies are being practiced and we are obviously adjusting based on the information coming from not only what happened in Wisconsin but what happens here in Chicago," Brown added.
While many of the protests in Chicago have remained peaceful, the city has also seen looting and chaos erupt at points amid the unrest. On Aug. 10, more than 100 people were arrested and more than a dozen officers injured as groups broke into stores and stole merchandise in several neighborhoods near Chicago's downtown area, according to police.
That destruction and violence happened months after a first round of looting took place citywide immediately following Floyd's death, and just hours after Chicago police officers - who were not wearing body cameras - shot a man in the Englewood neighborhood.
The following weekend, officers and demonstrators clashed in the city's downtown area. Videos of the scene appeared to show officers cordoning protesters off in a technique a coalition of aldermen identified as kettling, a controversial crowd control tactic in which police corral a group into a small area and surround them on all sides to immobilize them, direct them to a single exit or facilitate arrests, sometimes all of the above
Chicago police have placed blame on protesters for escalating violence against officers, arresting at least two dozen people, some charged with felonies in connection with the protest.