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Live Updates: Looting Causes Food Shortages; Security Firms See Spike In Demand

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Read updates on protests, looting, street closures and other news, as reaction to George Floyd’s death in Minnesota continues in the Chicago area.

Latest developments: Groceries, medications scarce in looted areas; business booming for security firms; Preckwinkle, Cupich respond to unrest; Lightfoot proceeds with reopening plan.

Wednesday, June 3

8:07 a.m. Demonstrators plan morning caravan to Lightfoot’s house

More than 100 people rallied in Palmer Square Park in the Logan Square neighborhood this morning for the start of a caravan protesting racial injustice and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Protesters traveled by bike, car and foot, with a planned route that would take them to the intersection nearest to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home.

The demonstrators have a lengthy list of demands, including community control of police, the release of victims of police torture from prison, defunding of the Chicago Police Department, and the release of inmates and detainees from jails and prisons to protect them from the spread of COVID-19.

At one point during the rally, an armored police truck rolled past, but otherwise there was no visible police presence at the park. Organizers also asked people to “flood” Lightfoot’s social media accounts with messages about police accountability and demands that all protestors who have been arrested be released without charges.

— Patrick Smith

7:45 a.m. Groceries, medications harder to find after looting and closures

Many of Chicago’s South and West side grocery stores and pharmacies are boarded up and closed after looting this past weekend. Others that were spared are closed over fears of more looting. The sudden closings have left many residents wondering where they’re going to get food for their next meal or medications.

But it wasn’t just retail shops and grocery stores. Dollar stores, gas stations and smaller businesses that carry some food items and household staples were also looted.

Read the full story.

— Carrie Shepherd, Elliott Ramos and Sarah Karp

7:25 a.m. Local security firms see surge in business

Private security firms in Chicago are seeing a spike in demand for services in the aftermath of lootings and unrest the last several days. Some firms are scrambling to hire more people to staff security presence at clients including apartment buildings, small businesses and office towers.

John Griffin Jr., the owner of AGB Investigative Services on the city’s South Side, says there’s been about a 25% in requests for services. He says most clients are looking for armed and unarmed security, as well as vehicle patrol. Griffin says demand has increased across the city, but mostly downtown.

— Minju Park

Tuesday, June 2

7:35 p.m. Pepper spray used to disperse crowd in Northwest Indiana

Indiana State Police Master Sgt. Kevin Murphy said pepper spray was used this evening to keep about 150 protesters from Interstate I-80/84 in Hammond, Indiana. One person was arrested.

Murphy said the protest was mostly peaceful. One protester said police "didn't have to use pepper spray on the crowd," but another said a man "decided to act up and cause the problem."

— Michael Puente

2:43 p.m. Preckwinkle, Cupich call for peace

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cardinal Blase Cupich on Tuesday all embraced peaceful protest against George Floyd’s death and the systemic racism it has revealed, but decried widespread looting that is wrecking city and suburban neighborhoods.

“Our brother, George, was murdered,” said Cupich, the leader of the Chicago area’s 2.3 million Roman Catholics, speaking at a joint press conference at a new Washington Park apartment complex. “We should mourn; we should be angry and hurt. But we also should heed the wishes of the Floyd family and not dishonor his gentle memory by spreading the sickness of violence.”

Preckwinkle said she was pained and “dismayed” to see looting in and around Hyde Park, particularly at pharmacies.

“In many of our black and brown communities, we know that we have disportionate numbers of people who suffer from diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, the things that make you particularly susceptible to COVID 19,” she said.

Without offering specific policy recommendations, Gov. Pritzker said the peaceful protests underscore the need for police accountability and criminal justice reforms.

“Real change, structural change, comes from protests paired with policy,” the Democrat said. “That means police reform with genuine investigations, transparency and accountability."

— Dave McKinney

11:04 a.m. Lightfoot says city will move to next reopening phase tomorrow

Despite days of looting and civil unrest, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced this morning that the city will ease COVID-19 restrictions as planned starting tomorrow. That means several types of businesses will be allowed to reopen starting tomorrow with public health restrictions and guidance, including retailers that may have had property damaged and stolen by looters over the weekend.

Phase 3 of Chicago's five-phase reopening plan allows for restaurants to begin serving people outdoors, and for retailers to reopen with in-store capacity limits. But Lightfoot also reiterated that anyone who has been involved in protests should self-quarantine for 14 days, lest the city lose progress it has made against the deadly coronavirus.

Read the full story.

— Alex Keefe

9:15 a.m. CTA riders confused, delayed as service disruptions continue

The Chicago Transit Authority is once again severely limiting its service today, preventing passengers from getting anywhere near downtown Chicago on buses or trains. The CTA suspended its service altogether for the second straight night between 9 p.m. last night and 6 a.m. today in response to ongoing unrest.

Buses and trains are not allowing passengers to travel between Western Avenue and the lakefront, and Belmont Avenue and 47th Street, “at the request of public safety officials,” according to the CTA. The restrictions caused major headaches for commuters today, many of whom said the city had not done enough to communicate the changes to passengers, and complained that the transit agency seemed disorganized when service resumed in the morning.

This morning, dozens of riders required to get off a Blue Line train headed toward the Loop were scrambling to figure out how they would get to work downtown. Belen Sandoval said she did not see or hear any warning that the train would be stopping at Western when she got on.

“Now I have to find a way to work,” Sandoval said. “So I’m going to get an Uber and see if we can make it there.”

Meanwhile, David Gilmore was trying to get home. Gilmore said he got done with his overnight shift at O’Hare International Airport at 5 a.m., had to wait an hour for trains to start running, and then was forced off the train at the Western stop. He estimated he would be at least two hours later getting home than normal.

— Patrick Smith

6:55 a.m. 2 killed in Cicero during unrest; looting hits Naperville

Two people were killed yesterday during unrest in suburban Cicero as protests continued over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. A Cicero spokesman said in addition to the deaths, 60 people were arrested during the unrest in the town of about 84,000 located west of Chicago, where the Illinois State Police and Cook County Sheriff’s Office were called in to help local police as people broke into a liquor store and other businesses and stole items. The town didn’t provide additional information about those killed or the circumstances of their deaths.

Protesters also marched in west suburban Naperville, where after a peaceful gathering some people defied a local curfew last night and broke windows on downtown businesses.

— Associated Press

Monday, June 1

8:02 p.m. CTA suspends service for a second consecutive night

All buses and trains will stop running from 9:30 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday “to ensure the health and safety of all residents, riders and CTA employees,” according to a press release from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office.

This is the second consecutive night the mayor has suspended bus and train service on short notice, causing riders to scramble for alternative transportation.

When service resumes, buses and trains will continue to bypass downtown stops.

— Michael Lansu

7:42 p.m. Illinois’ Pritzker says Trump’s military deployment threat ‘illegal’

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker tonight derided President Donald Trump’s threat to deploy the U.S. military to American cities to quell violent protests, calling the idea “illegal” and “ridiculous.”

In an interview on CNN, the Democrat said, “I reject the notion that the federal government can send troops into the state of Illinois.”

Pritzker spoke briefly after Trump made remarks at the White House about how he’d send federal military forces into states that have not activated their national guards to quell looting, vandalism and violence following the killing of George Floyd.

When asked about Trump’s military mobilization plan, the governor said: “Well, it’s illegal. It’s illegal. He can’t do it. … It’s ridiculous.”

Pritzker also criticized Trump’s handling of back-to-back national crises, which the governor said constituted a “miserable failure.” Pritzker referenced other moments in American history when leaders sought to calm an agitated nation instead of sowing division.

“This president doesn’t understand any of that,” Pritzker said on CNN. “He probably hasn’t read any of that, knows no history and doesn’t understand the job of the president.”

— Al Keefe

6:18 p.m. Protesters march from Wrigleyville to Uptown

photo of protesters on the North Side
Protesters march from Wrigleyville to Uptown Monday to protest the killing of George Floyd. Katherine Nagasawa / WBEZ

More than 1,000 protesters marched from Wrigleyville to Uptown, including a brief walk along Lake Shore Drive. The group had gathered at the Belmont CTA station and planned to walk to Stewart School Lofts, an elementary school that was converted into luxury apartments.

While chanting “no justice, no peace” and “black lives matter,” the large group stopped to take a knee and raise a fist at Montrose Avenue and Clark Street. The demonstration later featured speakers, a spoken word poet, and group chanting. Organizers asked white protesters to move to the back to make room for black participants up front.

The organizers asked for a peaceful protest and said anyone throwing things, antagonizing police or using hate speech will be asked to leave. The peaceful protest dispersed around the 9 p.m. curfew, but hours later police said stores in the area were being looted.

— Kate McGee

6:15 p.m. Chicago Public Schools meal distribution to resume tomorrow

Chicago Public Schools says it plans to reopen its 300 meal distribution school sites tomorrow after a one-day suspension. Officials say police will be near the sites to ensure safety, adding that the distribution will resume “pending any significant developments.”

Officials stopped handing out meals today because they say they were worried about student and worker safety after protests and looting over the weekend. But many criticized the decision because so many students depend on the free meals. Since in-person classes were suspended in March, CPS has distributed more than 13 million meals.

The school district also said it’s distributing an instructional toolkit today to families and staff to help with discussions about the events of the past week.

“We support and stand with Chicagoans who are forcefully, yet peacefully, advocating for the rights of black and brown people,” Schools CEO Janice Jackson said in a statement. “We created a package of resources for families to navigate these difficult times and we hope this leads to critical conversations in households and virtual classrooms across Chicago.”

— Sarah Karp

5:04 p.m. Gov. JB Pritzker calls up more Illinois National Guard and issues disaster proclamation

Gov. JB Pritzker is calling up an additional 250 Illinois National Guardsmen to be ready to help prevent looting and civil unrest in nearly a dozen counties. This is in addition to the 375 Pritzker activated to keep streets closed in Chicago yesterday. The governor also ordered the Illinois State Police to provide an additional 300 troopers to local governments.

The nine counties included in Pritzker’s disaster proclamation that allows the use of the National Guard are: Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Macon, Madison, Sangamon and Will.

The Illinois National Guard has not been used to handle civil unrest since there were protests against the Vietnam War and the Kent State shooting in 1970. Illinois National Guard troops were activated in preparation of the 1993 Chicago Bulls NBA championship, but were never used.

“What I can say is that this has something to do about leadership in the nation. When you don’t have national leaders who are bringing down the temperature in situations like this, it tends to fan the flames,” Pritzker told reporters today, speaking to the significance of his decision.

“Look at the words that the president has put out on Twitter. Look at the words that he says. He talks about, ‘Total domination,’ ” the governor continued. “I don’t want to dominate peaceful protesters who have legitimate grievances. I do want us to put down the situations of people destroying property or violent behavior.”

Pritzker also called on faith leaders to help by calling for calm and peace.

— Tony Arnold

4:01 p.m. South Shore activists call for an end to police violence and economic disinvestment

Activists gathered in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood today to clean up after this weekend’s looting along the 71st Street commercial corridor. They denounced the destruction of property, but they also shared the community’s frustrations with years of police abuse and economic disinvestment.

“We shouldn’t have to destroy anything to be heard,” said activist Will Calloway. “Why we got to be destructive to be heard?

“Like [Martin Luther King Jr.] said, riots are the voices of the unheard,” Calloway continued. “Our people, the black people, do not feel heard. Not just in Chicago, but in Minneapolis, in New York, Atlanta, [Los Angeles], all across the country. We want justice for our people.”

The activists called for a comprehensive economic development plan for the neighborhood and for the Chicago Police Department to meet its deadlines under a federal consent decree.

— Alden Loury

3:20 p.m. Weekend arrests threaten to push up jail population, raising concerns about COVID-19

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said over 1,000 people were arrested in the unrest in the Chicago area over the weekend. That likely means a spike in the jail population, which has been one of the largest COVID-19 hotspots in the country. About 550 detainees there have tested positive, and seven have died.

The jail has been under a court order to take action to stop the spread of the disease. In a court filing last month, Dart, who runs the jail, said that if there was a sharp increase in the population, he would have trouble complying with court orders on social distancing.

But in a press conference today, Dart said he would hold people sent to the jail.

“We will make sure that they’re safely separated from the COVID[-19], as well as we can do in that congregate setting, but … just because of the issues with COVID[-19], it doesn’t mean that there’s an ability where people are going to be able to walk free,” he said. “That’s not going to happen.”

Dart said he did not know how many arrestees would be released on bail and how many would be detained.

Activists have been calling for the release of people arrested during protests. In a statement on social media, the Chicago Community Bond Fund said Dart was showing “ indifference to police violence & Black pain.”

— Shannon Heffernan

2:10 p.m. Chicago school officials stand behind suspending meal distribution

photo of meal distribution
Cesar’s Killer Margaritas employee Israel Sanchez distributes free lunch to Chicago Public Schools parent. CPS suspended its free meal distribution at all schools today “based on the evolving nature of activity across the city.” WBEZ

Chicago Public Schools officials are defending their decision to suspend meal distribution today, saying they are concerned about student and worker safety.

“I live in these communities — the communities that have been shown on TV over the past few days — so I have a good gut sense about the safety,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson said during a news conference. “I would not be able to live with myself if something happened to a student or a family member when they went to get food.”

This was the first day the school district has not handed out food at schools since in-person classes were suspended on March 17 due to the pandemic. Tens of thousands of meals go out each day, with 12.5 million meals distributed so far.

Jackson said she intends to resume meal distribution on Tuesday. If families need emergency food today, she said they can call the school district at 773-553-KIDS and set up delivery. Also, many community organizations, restaurants and aldermen stepped in to give out free meals on Monday.

— Sarah Karp

12:11 p.m. Neighbors pitch in with business cleanup

Businesses on Chicago’s near West Side were getting cleanup support today from neighbors and customers. In Logan Square, a group of volunteers was sweeping glass from the smashed front window at Farmer’s Pride and Produce. In West Humboldt Park, Emily Stevens and friends were sweeping up glass and debris. Stevens is a physician’s assistant student in suburban Downer’s Grove and on summer break.

“I know you can’t clean up everything until you get insurance photos and we didn’t want to affect that,” Stevens said about their efforts. She said she’s new to the area and just wanted to help however she could.

Mohammad Abunasser, manager at Smoke and Snack Time, said he closed up the shop about 9 p.m. Sunday and looters broke in about 4 o’clock this morning. The shop sells everything from medical masks to potato chips to drinks. Abunasser said he’s been trying to make a report to police, who told him to call 311, but he hasn’t been able to get through.

He estimated there’s about $10,000 in damages. Ahmad Abunasser from the shop next door, Smoke Garden, said his family-owned business will have to be closed for about a month.

— Carrie Shepherd

12:06 p.m. Chicago public health chief urges protesters and other groups to self-quarantine

After large groups gathered this weekend to protest the death of George Floyd, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, expressed concern about the spread of COVID-19 within the city. At a morning press conference, she asked anybody who was in a group — especially those in close contact or without a mask — to self-quarantine for the next 14 days.

— WBEZ staff

10:56 a.m. City officials respond to weekend unrest

Chicago public safety officials fielded more than 10,000 calls about looting during a weekend of protests and civil unrest — sometimes at a rate of 4,000 calls an hour, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said this morning.

The mayor also defended her administration’s handling of the weekend protests in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who died after a police officer put his knee on the man’s neck, seeking to reassure Chicagoans following a second night of violence and destruction.

“If we had a police department three times the size, it would have been difficult to keep up with all the calls we had yesterday,” Lightfoot said.

Chicago police made 699 arrests Sunday, primarily for looting, said Police Superintendent David Brown. He added that 132 officers were injured in the clashes, while there were also 48 shootings and 17 murders.

As of this morning, City Hall was still restricting access to the downtown Loop to essential workers and residents only in order to prevent further looting and rioting. The city also cautions residents to look out for street closures “along commercial corridors and designated hot spots in neighborhoods across the city.” CTA buses and trains are set to resume normal service on Monday, but will be bypassing stops in the Loop.

— Alex Keefe

9:35 a.m. Chicago’s food bank suspends deliveries

Chicago’s main food bank says it has canceled all deliveries today amid the unrest in the region. The Greater Chicago Food Depository distributes food to more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in Cook County, according to its website. It distributes more than 170,000 meals every day.

The depository says in a statement that it’s taking the action “out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our employees and our community partners.” The depository says it will resume deliveries as soon as possible.

— Kate Grossman

8:00 a.m. CTA resumes service, but downtown restrictions remain

The Chicago Transit Authority says it resumed bus and train service across the city at 6 a.m., but buses and trains are bypassing stops that are located within or near new boundaries downtown. Those boundaries were announced by the city on Sunday morning to restrict access to the Loop and other areas. Only people who live and work in the area or do “essential activities” are allowed access until further notice.

Chicago police and vehicles from other city departments are being used to block access to the restricted areas. The CTA says it’s posting updates so residents and employees have the latest information on bus and train service. The boundaries affected by the new restrictions are:

Division Street from Lake Shore Drive and North Halsted Street.

North Halsted from Division to Milwaukee Avenue and Grand Avenue.

Milwaukee from Grand to Kinzie Street.

Canal Street. from Kinzie to 26th Street.

26th from Canal to Lake Shore Drive.

— WBEZ staff

7:04 a.m. Shootings cause deaths and injuries during unrest

At least 41 people were wounded and 14 killed in shootings across Chicago Sunday, according to the Chicago Police Department. Police say some of those shootings came in the midst of ongoing looting. One man was shot while trying to protect a store in the Logan Square neighborhood around 10:30 p.m. Another shooting occurred while a group was trying to break into a Chase ATM in the Ashburn neighborhood, according to police.

— Patrick Smith

6:40 a.m. Free meals suspended for Chicago Public Schools families

Chicago Public Schools families won’t be able to pick up meals at schools starting today. In a Tweet late Sunday night, CPS said it was suspending grab-and-go free meal distribution at all schools “based on the evolving nature of activity across the city.”

This came a few hours after Schools CEO Janice Jackson sent an email to all CPS families saying meal distribution would continue. Since school buildings shut down in March due the coronavirus pandemic, the school district has given out more than 12.5 million meals.

The Chicago Teachers Union criticized the decision. “CPS is already forcing children living in areas of extreme unrest and trauma into remote learning tomorrow. Now it’s cutting off their access to food,” the union wrote in a Tweet Sunday night.

CPS said all school and administrative office activities also will be suspended but remote learning will continue.

— Kate Grossman

Sunday, May 31

7:33 p.m. Person shot during looting at North Riverside Park Mall

One person was shot as looters ransacked a west suburban mall. About 2 p.m. Sunday, groups began smashing windows and looting businesses at North Riverside Park Mall at 7501 W. Cermak Rd. in North Riverside, police Chief Carlos Garcia said in an email.

“During the incident a subject was shot by an unknown offender and taken to a local hospital. The shooting is currently under investigation,” said Garcia, who did not provide details about the victim.

With help from nearby police departments, officers dispersed the looters and established a perimeter around the mall to prevent any further property damage. The mall remained closed Sunday night.

— Michael Lansu

7:27 p.m. Tensions rising at protest in Northwest Indiana

photo of police firing tear gas in Hobart, Indian
Police fire tear gas in Hobart, Indiana. Michael Puente / WBEZ

Police in Northwest Indiana have fired tear gas after surrounding about 200 protesters in a major retail district off U.S. 30 in Hobart, Indiana. Nobody has been arrested.

“At some point, we will need to take action to disperse the crowd because of their violent and destructive intent,” Lake County, Indiana Sheriff Oscar Martinez said.

Earlier in Hobart, police reported looting at a strip mall. One police officer was injured.

— Michael Puente

7 p.m. Several suburbs set curfews

Several Chicago suburbs are announcing curfews as protests over the death of George Floyd escalate. This comes after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city would be under curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Suburbs under curfew include:

Oak Lawn: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Tinley Park: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Orland Park: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Chicago Ridge: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Oak Park: 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Aurora: 8:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Blue Island: 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Calumet City: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Matteson: 9 p.m. To 6 a.m.

Berwyn: 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Evergreen Park: 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Other suburbs, including Wheaton, Highland Park, Alsip Homewood, Oak Brook and Park Ridge, have seen an increase in police presence, business closures or urges to stay at home.

— Mary Hall

6:44 p.m. Investigation into “coordinated looting” and arson under way

In a joint appearance with Gov. JB Pritzker and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in the afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said today Chicago has enlisted the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. attorney’s office to help investigate the “absolutely organized and coordinated” looting and arson that marred peaceful demonstrations over George Floyd’s death.

“There’s no question some of the destruction that happened last night, particularly the arsons, were absolutely organized and coordinated. We’ll learn about this over time as the investigation takes its course. But I’m confident of that so far,” Lighfoot said.

At the mayor’s request, Pritzker activated 375 military police officers from the Illinois National Guard to help secure a perimeter around downtown.

— Dave McKinney

5:52 p.m. CTA, Metra suspend service

Service will be suspended on all CTA buses and trains starting at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. The CTA will post updates on by 5 a.m. Monday with details on when service will resume.

In a social media post, the CTA said the cancellation was made “at the request of public safety officials.”

Metra also canceled all trains with departures or arrivals in downtown Chicago after 3:00 p.m. and is determining service levels for tomorrow.

Metra spokesperson Meg Reile said service will continue to be suspended through tomorrow “for the safety of the public and our employees.” Reile added that Metra is having trouble getting its workers downtown.

Pace service has also been suspended, but any ADA Paratransit riders can call to make arrangements.

— Carrie Shepherd

5:08 p.m. Protesters block highway in Hobart, Indiana

photo of demonstrators in Hobart, Indiana
Demonstrators moved from Southlake Mall to U.S. 30 in Hobart, Indiana. Michael Puente / WBEZ

About 200 demonstrators gathered outside of Southlake Mall in Hobart, Ind. on Sunday to protest the killing of George Floyd.

After 90 minutes, the protesters moved to block traffic on U.S. 30.

A police tactical unit stood by outside the JCPenney store in full riot gear. The demonstration was peaceful although tense at times.

Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor spoke with many of the demonstrators to find common ground.

Sheriff of Lake County Indiana Oscar Martinez said one of his officers has been injured. He said the demonstrators have been able to exercise their first amendment rights but they’re going to try to disperse the crowd soon because he feels many of them have ill intentions. The demonstrators are blocking traffic on US 30, a half mile east of Interstate 65 in Hobart Indiana.

— Michael Puente

4:52 p.m. Hyde Park store owners react to lootings

The owner of Kimbark Beverage Shoppe in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood spent Sunday cleaning up after burglars. Jonathan Swain said high-end alcohol like cognac was taken and computers were destroyed.

He put up a black-owned sign in the window. He said he’s not angry and understands what led to this moment.

“If I give into hopelessness, the lynch mob that killed brother [George] Floyd has already won because their job is to scare everyone into being passive and I won’t do that,” Swain said.

Other store owners in the Kimbark Plaza strip mall on 53rd Street said the police told them to shut their doors today.

— Natalie Moore

4:30 p.m. Divvy suspends service

Divvy stopped all operations Sunday afternoon after yesterday’s protests. The company wrote on Twitter that they will reopen as soon as possible, but are following guidance from city officials.

Bikes were removed from the central business district while the rest of the system was shut down.

??5/31 Service Alert ??
Following guidance from city officials we’re temporarily closing the Divvy system beginning at 4pm. We’ll reopen it as soon as possible.

— Divvy (@DivvyBikes) May 31, 2020

— Vivian McCall

1:30 p.m. At least 45 Loop businesses vandalized last night

At least 45 — and possibly upwards of 130 — businesses were vandalized downtown last night, according to two Loop business groups.

“Broken windows in The Magnificent Mile district have been boarded and graffiti is minimal; however, we do not yet know the economic impact or the outcome for various businesses recouping lost property and momentum,” Kimberly Bares, president and CEO of The Magnificent Mile Association, said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Loop Alliance, a member-based organization that advocates for businesses in the area, says the group is working with residents and businesses on next steps for clean-up. Loop Alliance President Michael Edwards said he was meeting with Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office at 1 p.m. to discuss plans for reopening.

Edwards said in a statement, “We have been heartened to hear from residents and workers who are eager to help with clean-up, and CLA staff is coordinating with them today to do just that.”

— Carrie Shepherd

8:28 a.m. Lightfoot asks Pritzker to send National Guard to Chicago

Gov. JB Pritzker ordered 375 Illinois National Guard soldiers to assist local law enforcement with street closures after widespread looting and damage Saturday night.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said this morning that only essential workers would be allowed into the central business district; city trains and bus service would be suspended; major streets would be blocked with city sanitation trucks; and Chicago River drawbridges allowing pedestrians and vehicles into downtown would remain lifted.

The actions come after a night of tense protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Chicago saw violent clashes, hundreds of arrests and smashed windows at stores and other businesses. Police Superintendent David Brown said police had made 240 arrests. Multiple police were injured, he said, and 20 officers were taken to hospitals.

Some of the worst hit areas for looting were Lake Street, State Street and Michigan Avenue. At one point a cyclist rode past a group of people who were cleaning up or gawking at the damage and shouted, “It’s going to happen again tonight, folks.”

— WBEZ staff

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