In the early morning hours of August 10, 2020, the Chicago Loop became the site of mass chaos when hundreds of rioters looted businesses, destroyed property, and directly challenged law enforcement. At least 100 arrests were made, at the cost of two injured civilians and three wounded officers.
The Night is Young
Civil unrest began shortly after midnight, when at least one hundred rioters began looting stores along the Gold Coast. While law enforcement began establishing a perimeter, dozens of businesses along Lake Street and Michigan Avenue were cleared of inventory as people entered through broken windows and loaded up backpacks, trash bags, and duffle bags with merchandise. At least one U-Haul rental van was used to transport stolen goods, indicating some organization amongst the thieves prior to the event.
Law Enforcement Responds
At roughly 3:30 AM, The Intelligence Ledger began to receive reports that CPD officers were arresting offenders in large numbers. This was soon confirmed by a flurry of video footage of police paddy wagons and patrol cars flooding the Loop. Police Superintendent David Brown later confirmed that at least 400 officers were ordered to the area in order to halt, "pure criminality and lawlessness." At roughly 5:00 AM, bridges along the Chicago River were raised, public transit was halted, and roadblocks established in an attempt to seal off impacted parts of the city until public safety officials could ensure criminal activity had largely ceased.
The authority of the Chicago Police Department was challenged at 4:30 AM, when officers conducting an investigation on Lake Street near Michigan Avenue were engaged by a lone gunman in a passing vehicle. As previously mentioned, no officers were injured, although it remains to be seen if the gunman was shot by CPD's swift and overwhelming return fire.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Superintendent Brown, and Attorney General Kim Foxx were met with sharp criticism from constituents and political opponents in the wake of Monday's chaos. Complaints have focused on a lack of criminal prosecution, failed policing strategies, and repeated nights of lawlessness over the past several months. Alderman Brian Hopkins, speaking to WGN-TV, declared, "This is a problem with leadership and a problem with command. There is just a complete failure to address this... The Mayor needs to address the city. Enough breaking up parties on the beach. That isn't our problem right now. What is she going to do to stop this?"
Monday morning's destruction, coupled with May's riots, are sure to have a lasting economic impact on the city, as several businesses have already announced discussions are underway as to permanently leave Chicago. Compounding the city's woes is a vicious cycle of gang violence, with 427 individuals shot and killed over the past year and 2,013 wounded.