Chicago police will deploy 1,000 officers to the city’s central shopping district, the “Magnificent Mile,” and into neighborhoods being targeted by rioters and looters in an effort to curb the violence plaguing local businesses.
In a press conference held late Thursday, Chicago’s police superintendent David Brown said that the city would add 1,000 more officer shifts over three days, Friday through Sunday. This is similar to a deployment the department undertook several weeks ago, sending 1,200 additional officers into south and west side neighborhoods where gang violence has been on the upswing.
Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, made a similar announcement in her own press conference on Friday, noting that the Chicago Streets & Sanitation bureau will also be involved in preventing looting, and that police will use “new and enhanced tactics” to shut down “caravans” looking for opportunities to cause trouble.
“There can never be any place in Chicago where businesses are afraid to open, where residents and visitors are afraid to travel and shop, or where employees are afraid to go to work,” Lightfoot added.
Brown, who also appeared at the Friday conference, said that the thousand additional officers will be in charge of preventing looting and protecting businesses.
“Brown gave a stern warning to would-be thieves in a Thursday evening news conference,” Chicago’s Fox affiliate reported. “He said the Chicago Police Department would be testing deployments downtown Thursday night and is prepared to use every method possible to stop looters.”
“We are going to deploy all tactics necessary to prevent and stop looting. [That may mean] deploying spike strips to puncture your tires,” Brown told media. “We’ve increased our numbers, we have extended our hours that our officers work. There’s an increase of 1,000 officers that would normally be here.”
Monday’s looting – the second such rampage in less than three months – left more than a dozen Chicago police officers injured and caused an estimated $60 million in damages. Businesses, including anchor stores like Macy’s that have operated on the Magnificent Mile for decades, have informed the city that unless something drastic is done to curb the violence, they will abandon their leases and move elsewhere.
Brown also said that he would do his best to see that looters and rioters arrested Monday face justice.
“What I want the looters to learn is how committed we are to not only stopping the looting but, if they escape, working tirelessly to find them, punish them and prosecute them,” he said.
That may be a difficult promise to keep. In a similar press conference Tuesday, Brown partly blamed Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office for the melee, suggesting that her office had deliberately dropped looting and rioting cases from the first round back in late May.
Foxx’s office contends that most looting and rioting cases from May are still pending. A statement from the Cook County State’s Attorney claims that 42 individuals have already been charged with felony cases stemming from Sunday night’s looting.
The Daily Wire reported Thursday that the Chicago Police Department has released additional security and surveillance footage of unidentified looters, and is asking the public for help in identifying those individuals who broke into Magnificent Mile stores.