Downtown aldermen express anger, frustration over most recent looting
Loop North News

CRIME & SAFETY

(Above) Two loud blows to the doors of Nordstrom and this mob was in, looting the department store at Wabash & Grand in River North late Sunday night. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

12-Aug-20 – It was more violent than the vandalism in May. Hundreds of people drove into downtown Chicago late Sunday night for a night of looting and rioting. Two people were shot. 13 police officers were injured.

Businesses were damaged in the Loop, including Macy’s and Block 37, along the Magnificent Mile, and in River North, particularly Nordstrom.

400 police officers responded but at times appeared to be outnumbered.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke to the city on Monday morning, but 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins called it “nothing but rhetoric and blame.”

Hopkins expressed frustration over what he says is a lack of a plan to protect all Chicago neighborhoods and small business owners. Without such a plan, he says he strongly favors asking for federal assistance.

“The mayor offered to assign more police officers to the 18th and 1st [police] districts but revealed no plan for how they would respond to mass-offender events like what we saw this week,” said Hopkins on Monday. “Our city cannot afford even one more night of rampant and uncontrolled criminal activity. This has to stop. And it has to stop now.”

Photo by Steven Dahlman

(Left) As people freely access a 7-Eleven that was broken into at State & Illinois, two men pull a large object from the Subway restaurant next door during looting in River North late Sunday night.

42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly says he is “angry and disgusted” by the looting. He says it was “a highly coordinated, professional attack on downtown and neighboring wards” involving caravans of stolen vehicles.

He says the attack was “laser-focused on high-value targets” such as department stores, electronics stores, jewelry stores, branch banks, ATMs, and high-end retail boutiques, and was coordinated using social media.

The judicial system and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in particular, said Reilly, “are failing us like never before.” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, he says, has prosecuted “a fraction” of felony retail thefts compared with her predecessor, Anita Alverez.

“We expect prosecutors to enforce all of our laws with equal vigor – city and state laws are not a buffet for prosecutors to selectively enforce, they must all be enforced. All too often, we are seeing repeat offenders, violent offenders, gun crime suspects and now looters being released on [a recognizance bond] or the totally ineffective electronic monitoring program. This is totally unacceptable.”

(Right) Looting at Nordstrom in River North was briefly interrupted when Chicago police were able to park a police SUV directly in front of the doors, but when they were called away to help with worse looting in the Loop, the crowd returned. Wider view looking east on Grand Avenue, full of vehicles and people at 1:23 a.m. on Monday.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

Streeterville Organization of Active Residents expressed its disappointment with progress following their recent meeting with 18th police district commander Jill Stevens, Alderman Hopkins, and Alderman Reilly.

“Based on this meeting, we had anticipated better management and control of the illegal and criminal activity that has impacted Streeterville and the City of Chicago,” wrote SOAR in an email to members. “However, no one anticipated that this wide-scale looting and destruction of property would happen again, especially in the middle of the night.”

Chicago Police Department has established a looting task force and is seeking videos, photos, or other information about the recent looting incidents. They may be sent to 630lootingtaskforce@chicagopolice.org or you may call 312-744-8263.

 Related story: Police discuss crime concerns with downtown neighborhood groups

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

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