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(Above) Frames from a video showing what appears to be a security guard with gun drawn on a man involved in Saturday’s incidents. (Click on image to view larger version.)

8-Apr-19 – In the first Magnificent Mile “mob” incident of 2019, twenty-one people were arrested on Saturday, according to Chicago police.

The high arrest count is the result of a new, less tolerant approach by police assigned to handle large groups of young people causing disturbances near the shopping district.

Police said several groups, comprised mostly of juveniles, were given “direct orders” to disperse from the downtown area after disrupting traffic and fighting, a CPD spokesperson said.

Individuals who failed to disperse were taken into custody, according to the department. A CPD source said one arrestee was 11 years old and a 15-year-old girl was arrested for trying to punch a police officer.

The first indications of trouble came around 1 p.m. when police noticed a large group of teens traveling north on a CTA Red Line train at Cermak. By 5 p.m., teens were bothering customers at shops near Michigan & Chicago Avenues. A manager called for help with a crowd of “25 to 30” teens that had raided a yogurt restaurant. Police began making arrests along Chicago Avenue shortly thereafter.

Google Street View

One teen who brandished a realistic BB gun was detained by police.

(Left) Google Street View of Chicago Avenue between Wabash Avenue and Rush Street.

A second CPD source said the arrests were part of a new policing strategy that calls for officers to apply a firmer hand to non-compliant mobs. Last year, police executives chose to minimize arrests and coax the massive groups back on to Red Line trains bound for the South Side. The tactic resulted in several innocent people being attacked and robbed by mobs in CTA trains and tunnels.

Officers this year will move more quickly to make arrests, to send a message to the mobs and to reduce violent outbreaks, the source said.

Saturday’s incidents were the first widespread mob activity in the otherwise tourist-friendly areas of Chicago since four people were battered and one arrest was made on December 29, 2018.

Video shows guard with gun drawn on attackers

Video obtained on Monday shows an armed man pulling his weapon to ward off two apparent attackers near Chicago Avenue & State Street. Filmed from inside McDonald’s at 10 East Chicago Avenue, the video shows two younger men attacking a middle-aged man who appears to be a security guard. The man is slammed against the restaurant’s outside wall by the pair who punch and grapple the older man as he works to free himself.

Within moments, one of the two apparent attackers picks up an object that appears to be a pepper spray canister while the armed man continues to struggle with the other person. Suddenly, the man with the canister runs away as the older man returns into frame with a handgun raised at shoulder height.

As the armed man stands near the restaurant’s property line, the object that one of the apparent attackers picked off the ground rolls to his feet. The second youth, apparently suffering the effects of pepper spray, raises his shirt to wipe his face.

A spokesperson for nearby Loyola University says that the armed man is not affiliated with the school’s police department. A Chicago police spokesperson said no report had been filed in connection with the incident.