The top cop of Chicago defends police actions during protests

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown says video of clashes between officers and protesters over the weekend shows a “concerted effort” by Protestants to provoke a violent reaction by the police

CHICAGO – The Chicago Police Superintendent defends the actions of his officers over the weekend in clashes with Protestants, and said Monday that they are acting professionally in the face of a ‘concerted effort’ by the people in the crowd who are visiting to provoke a violent confrontation with them.

Video footage shows some in the crowd donning gas masks, changing clothes to hide their identities and setting up umbrellas, a tactic shown in recent protests aimed at protecting the display of people wearing projectiles throwing at officers, Superintendent David Brown told reporters.

“From what I saw, they only took appropriate action when confronted with violence,” he said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised the department’s response to Saturday night’s protest that turned into a violent clash between protesters and police, saying officials were quick to use force to protect peaceful protesters.

But a number of activists and lawmakers have condemned the officers’ actions, saying the officers were the aggressors.

“CPD pepper spoke and defeated Protestants, youth and members of the press,” said Berto Aguayo, executive director of Increase the Peace, in a statement released to news organizations. “We demand an apology from the Chicago Police Department and the Mayor’s Bureau for violating our rights to peaceful assembly and for their heinous attacks on peaceful Protestants.”

Brown said police made 24 arrests and that four of those arrested were charged with crimes. Among the four were a 24-year-old man who was charged after allegedly hitting a uniformed officer with a bullhorn and a 25-year-old man who allegedly hit an officer with a skateboard. The other two were a 24-year-old woman who allegedly tried to steal a camera that was pulled in protest of the officer’s uniform and an 18-year-old college student who was accused of embezzling battery after going to all thought twice tried to grab the arm of a high rank of the department.

Before Monday’s news conference, the department released a video showing a man hitting an officer with a skateboard on Saturday. The move was part of a broader effort to get as many people as possible to see what happened during the protest and during the August 10 looting in downtown Chicago.

The department, which created what it called a Looting Task Force, announced last week that it was posting videos in the hopes that people would recognize those who smashed shop windows or made merchandise and other items.

One of the first videos posted was of two men breaking into an ATM with a hammer. That video led to the arrest of a local man who police say the crime is livestreaming. Arron Neal, 20, is charged with false charges of criminal damage to property and burglary.

Police have released a whisper of news items containing photos of people who participated in looting and mosquito shots of people who were arrested for doing so – a signal that the department is trying to make amends on the mayor’s vow to follow down and arrest those involved in street violence.

In all, Brown said tips from the public after those videos were posted resulted in 11 arrests in connection with street violence and looting last week.

Brown said between 6 p.m. Friday and midnight Sunday, 51 people were shot, including five deadly, in 38 shooting incidents. He said four youths were shot, but none of them were killed.

Meanwhile, the whole weekend violence in Chicago was not nearly as widespread as it had been the past few weekends. Even so, Brown said that between 6 p.m. Friday and midnight Sunday, 51 people were shot, including five deadly, in 38 shooting facilities. He said four youths were shot, but none of them were killed.