With 699 arrests, more than 80 people shot, a dozen killed and even more injured this was one of Chicago’s deadliest weekends in recent memory. As mayhem and chaos spread across the city, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Chicago P.D. and eventually, the National Guard attempted to maintain peace as more than 3,000 protestors, including actor John Cusack took to the streets.
What began as peaceful demonstrations, triggered by the murder of George Floyd, quickly nosedived into a melee of anger, destruction and violence as the weekend wore on. The mayor was forced to shut down the Loop, Lakeshore drive and the CTA.
CPD chased down a white Toyota Corolla armed with a handgun and incendiary device near Orleans and St.Claire. Even at 3:55am, police scanners in districts all over Chicago were alive with activity from lootings to shootings to fires. Police scanners picked up several “10-1″ calls for officers in immediate need of help.
The social and economic impact is devastating. Just as the country was cautiously opening its doors after being shut down for 3 months due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19, tragedy struck and a nation burned.
Looters crashed storefronts of Magnificent Mile staples including Nike, Nordstroms, Citibank, Bloomingdales and Louis Vuitton.
In Old Town, a modest-sized group of peaceful demonstrators protesters confronted police around 9 p.m. at North Avenue and Wells Street. They chanted, “I can’t breathe,” “No justice, no peace” and “Black lives matter.”
“This is the Chicago Police Department,” played over a bullhorn. “You are in violation of the curfew law.”
Neighborhoods including Chatham, South Chicago, Little Village, Canaryville, West Garfield Park, Calumet Heights and more saw similar destruction.
Cusack allegedly assaulted
Actor John Cusack recorded and tweeted that CPD used batons on his bike after curfew while he was filming a burning car nearby. His twitter stated “Cops didn’t like me filming the burning car so they came at me with batons. Hitting my bike.”
The video where you can hear Cusack complying with cops while repeatedly stating “alright, alright, alright” while they attack him, has gone viral on social media amidst the craziness in Chicago.
The Chicago native, whose films include Better Off Dead, Say Anything, Being John Malkovich, High Fidelity and Love & Mercy, is the brother of actresses Anne and Joan Cusack. He has been documenting the Chicago protests.
Lightfoot addresses criticism
On Monday, Mayor Lightfoot addressed criticism that CPD prioritized protecting the Loop over neighborhoods on the South and West sides over the weekend.
“There is no way, no way, we would ever let any neighborhood receive more resources and protection than any others. Ever,” Lightfoot said. “That certainly didn’t happen over the course of the weekend.”
Lightfoot added the criticism is offensive to her as a black woman, “We did not stand by and let the South and West sides burn as some are propagating.”
Katharin Mraz is a contributing writer for Reel Chicago and Reel 360Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
photo credits: Augie Vaza