Police ‘vastly outnumbered’ in Mag Mile melee, says alderman
Loop North News

CRIME & SAFETY

8-May-18 – The Chicago Police Department is reviewing Saturday’s disturbance on Michigan Avenue – fights involving a large group of teenagers – to determine why its response was delayed, according to 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins.

Between 8:20 and 10:00 p.m., a mob of at least 50 teenagers but as many as a few hundred, as described by police and a witness, fought each other, assaulted tourists, then jumped over turnstiles on their way out of downtown.

Reports came in from an area that stretched from Water Tower Place to the Chicago Water Tower to the CTA Red Line station at Chicago & State.

At least four people were injured, according to police, and two juveniles were arrested. One of the two arrested was a 16-year-old male who, police say, threw an “unknown liquid substance” in the face of an officer after getting into a “verbal altercation with a door attendant.”

The teen is from the 5500 block of South Aberdeen Street, near Sherman Park and about six miles south of the Loop. He was charged with one felony count of aggravated battery to a police officer.

According to Hopkins, the group was organized – planning and coordinating their activity and traveling together on the Red Line to the Chicago & State stop.

“The 18th District patrol officers responded immediately and appropriately, but unfortunately, they had no advance warning that such a large group of youth was assembling, and therefore the police were vastly outnumbered,” wrote Hopkins (right) in his newsletter to constituents. “Some time passed before reinforcements could arrive and regain control of the streets.” Brian Hopkins

Systems are in place to give police advance warning of such events, and police have plans for responding to them, but says Hopkins, “the warning systems failed, and the execution of response plans was delayed and not as effective as it needs to be.”

Chaos on Red Line as mob departs

Trains going south from Chicago & State after the incident were packed with teenagers, all wearing red and black, according to a passenger on one of the trains.

Posting anonymously on Reddit, the witness says he heard the train operator “shouting on the intercom” to the mob, telling them to leave the train.

As police questioned the juveniles, one of them, according to the witness, jumped off the train and ran into a tunnel.

“From Lake to Roosevelt, there had to be like ten cops at each station,” wrote the witness, “a few actually had their guns in their hands.”

Near North getting eight new officers

Of 108 officers added most recently to the Chicago police force, the 18th police district, according to 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, is getting eight.

“While these increases signify progress, we are by no means where we need to be,” said Hopkins on Monday.

Brian Hopkins Hopkins says there has been a 16 percent increase in muggings in Near North neighborhoods – including River North, Streeterville, and Gold Coast – compared to a year ago. In Lincoln Park, the number of robberies, says Hopkins, is up 55 percent.

“We can all agree that an increased police presence brings a heightened sense of security, and I will continue to advocate for and welcome every new officer I can get. However, waiting for more officers to join the beat is not a strategy, and certainly not a plan to deal in the now.”

Hopkins says he is working to implement other safety initiatives, such as new street lighting and security cameras.

The initiatives, he says, “will deter criminal behavior through strength in communities and put us on the path to restoring a sense of safety in areas where it currently seems lost.”

CWB Chicago contributed to this story.

 Previous story: Four injured in melee near Water Tower

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

Published 8-May-18 3:48 AM

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