[Update]: A Chicago Neighbor Has Been Arrest
In a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, one officer admits most of the people they have arrested were from out of town. The officer stated that most of the looters in the Loop had southern accents, one man who was arrested was from Tennessee. Federal law enforcement officials are currently investigating whether or not the riots are connected in some way.
Some people believe there is an extremist group(s) instigating the riots. There are some who believe those who are stoking the violence are doing so as acts of domestic terrorism. Matthew Lee Rupert, a Galesburg native, has been arrested and charged with an eight-page criminal complaint in Minnesota on June 1, 2020.
The complaint states that before Rupert moved to Chicago, he participated in rioting and looting in Minneapolis. Rupert claims to be innocent, even though he did not resist being extradited back to Minnesota. The complaints against Rupert do not connect him to any sort of organization. Throughout the nation, officials are seeing social media accounts with less than 200 followers. Authorities say this is a clear sign of disinformation efforts.
Tension is still high in Chicago today, June 1, 2020. Rioting, looting, and massive amounts of vandalism have been happening amid protesting over the death of George Floyd. Over the weekend, businesses in Chicago were broken into and their merchandise was stolen. Some people started burning some stores and vehicles around town.
One Bystander’s Account in Chicago
Citizens living in the South and West Side of Chicago reported that it seemed the police had left them to fend for themselves. One witness, who lives in North Lawndale, told Guardian Liberty Voice (GLV) that he witnessed roughly four vehicles pull up to a business. Inside each vehicle was four white men.
The white men got out of the vehicles and proceeded to remove tools from their trunks and cabs. This witness and several others vocally told the men to go away and not do what they were thinking about doing. The men became violent toward the bystanders protecting the business.
A person in the crowd, trying to help the bystanders, fired a couple of warning shots. The white men got back into their vehicles, without their tools, and left the area. The witness returned to his own neighborhood to help set up barricades. Things are really hectic in Chicago at the moment.
Chicago’s Mayor Holds a Press Conference
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the public in a press conference. Lightfoot announced they were closing down some roadways. They would be limiting access to these roads to residents, businesses, and police officers. Authority’s main focus will be in the business corridor areas.
Lightfoot is sending workers from the Department of Motor Vehicles, and other Chicago personnel, to access the damages that have been done. The mayor also stated that the situation is “completely heart wrenching.”
“I, and we, will be partners in rebuilding. We will rebuild, and the city of Chicago will be behind the rebuild.” Lightfoot stated directly to the cameras. Over the past 24 hours, there have been 65,000 emergency calls. That is 50,000 more calls than they normally receive in a day.
Lightfoot then breaks down the call times. When the protesting started last night they received roughly 1,000 calls within a half-hour period. After the peaceful protest ended and the rioting began, officials started receiving 2,000 calls per thirty minutes.
Chicago’s mayor then states, “It’s an all hands on deck moment. Not just law enforcement, but all people, to not allow the criminal activity to continue to happen.” The local transit has changed there routes due to street closure. Officials have done this to avoid the hot spots around the city. Lightfoot stated that she holds her officers accountable for their actions. “Even and especially in times like these.” She emphasizes, “We will not abandon holding our officers accountable. If someone crosses the line, they will be held accountable.”
Chicago’s Superintendent of Police’s Views
Superintendent of Police David Brown was also in attendance at the mayor’s press conference. Brown discussed how he witnessed looters strategically allude officers, by setting fire to one establishment with the intention to rob another. The superintendent also spoke of one young black female, “maybe 21 years of age if that.” This woman stood in front of officers chanting “Say his name, say his name.”
Brown admitted that he quietly stated Floyd’s name, and he was ashamed of that. He says that the protester just wanted acknowledgment of Floyd’s murder. “Today, I publically say his name. Mr. George Floyd.” Brown continues to say how he was disgraced the day he found out that one of his own could do that to anybody.
The Superintendent of Police then addresses the ones causing mayhem, “To the looters, you disgrace Mr. Floyd’s name. An eye for an eye leaves most of us blind.” Brown announced in a 24 hour period:
- A total of 132 officers have been injured;
- 17 people lost their lives;
- 699 people were arrested;
- A total of 64 guns were confiscated.
Other Officials in Chicago’s View
Dr. Allison Arwady is concerned about COVID-19 in Illinois. “Last time I was on, I said that we finally made progress with COVID-19. We may see ourselves go back some because of the rioting.” Chicago is still seeing hundreds of new cases every day. Arwady wants people to continue social distancing, wear cloth coverings, and to use hand sanitizer. “Please continue to be safe.”
Commissioner Judy Freeman said that she “wants to get our businesses boarded up and keep everyone safe.” Freeman stated that her department and others like hers, is working hard with the community to board up any place that has been destroyed.
Chicago’s Department of Sanitation spokesperson states, that they have instructed their crews to clean up any debris they find. The man stated that law enforcement would be in close proximity of cleaning crews, to ensure their safety. Crews have “blowers, rakes, and bags,” on hand to help assist them in the cleanup.
The executive director for The Austin African American Business Networking Association (AAABNA), Malcolm Crawford, was asked to speak at today’s briefing. Crawford talked about the devastation he witnessed all across the city. “I salute all the people who are staying strong and keeping open. I salute those people who came from other neighborhoods to help clean.” His closing sentence, “When it’s darkest, that’s when we’ll see the light. This to shall pass.”
People in Chicago Have the Right to Protest
Mayor Lightfoot understands that people have the constitutional right to protest and let voices be heard. However, the situation that is happening is not the answer. Lightfoot believes that people are using the situation to take advantage of rioting. The mayor suspects that outsiders are entering Chicago, and these people are taking advantage of the situation.
She wants people to know that officers are only wearing protective gear to protect themselves. People are using “bats, pipes, empty bottles. Some bottles contain urine or excrements. The gear also protects against guns.” The mayor also understands that Illinois is a concealed carry state. Lightfoot wants the citizens of Chicago to know, she would prefer them to allow authorities to do their jobs.
How Closed up Is Chicago?
Another witness has told GLV that authorities have raised bridges to help close down roadways. This person also informs GLV all of the grocery stores, including Wal-Mart, have been closed due to rioting. In one instance the person drove the wrong way down the road to get turned around. On the west side of Chicago, Little Village is shutdown.
The situation in Chicago is complete chaos. Pictures of broken windows, empty shelves, and graffiti have flooded the internet. People are trying to keep from being injured by the agitated crowds and broken glass. This situation mimics several other cities all around the U.S. The Nation Guard has been called in some areas, including Chicago, to help local police regain peace.
Places Near Chicago Are Closing Roads Too
The Mayor of Aurora announced during his press conference names of victims of police brutality, Floyd’s name was first. Aurora is roughly a 45-minute ride from Chicago. He believes that the peaceful protesting was “hijacked by people outside of Aurora.” In response to this, he has extended curfews and closed down roads leading into the city.
Every entrance into Aurora has authorities there. In order to enter Aurora, one must have identification and/or work credentials. “We will not put up with this B.S.,” is how he ended his part of the press conference.
Floyd’s family has gone on the record stating that he would not want all of the riots and looting. His family describes him as a peaceful man, therefore all the protests should be peaceful. Chicago and other major cities are in dire need of the looting and rioting to come to an end. Floyd’s younger brother spoke to protesters today. He emphasized that his “family is a peaceful family.” Floyd’s brother then calls for all the destruction to come to an end. People’s voices can be heard without violence, without hate.
By Sheena Robertson
ABC: Chicago looting continues in Wicker Park; Mayor Lightfoot speaks amid unrest in city in wake of George Floyd’s death: WATCH LIVE
NBC: Chicago Looting, Protests: 911 Call Overload, Nearly 700 Arrests in 24 Hours
ABC: Chicago looting continues as nearly 700 arrested by police in unrest in wake of George Floyd’s death; Mayor Lightfoot tasks city personnel to help rebuild
Chicago Sun-Times: ‘Let’s start a riot’: Galesburg man hit with federal charge related to rioting in Chicago
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