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(Above) Frame from mobile phone video, posted on Twitter, of teens jumping on vehicles, including the #56 Milwaukee CTA bus on Washington Street in the Loop, on April 15. (Click on image to view larger version.)

1-May-23 – Violent gatherings of youths in downtown Chicago in recent years, as recently as April 15, are not without warning, says 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins.

Hopkins has urged Chicago police to monitor social media.

“These events are no longer unpresented,” wrote Hopkins in his newsletter to constituents on April 24.

Hopkins says the “mass gatherings of youths,” during which bystanders were assaulted and vehicles were damaged, are organized over social media. He urged the incoming Chicago Police Superintendent and mayor to utilize social media and discourage the gatherings.

Brian Hopkins

“While not all of these individuals engaged in criminal behavior, the large gathering incubated a ‘mob mentality’ environment, one which can be likened to a spark in a tinder box,” wrote Hopkins (left).

Large group incidents in mid-April included fights in Millennium Park, three teenagers being shot, two people being robbed and beaten on Wabash Avenue, and vehicles set on fire.

Hopkins has said the Chicago Police Department responded poorly to the incidents due to a “total breakdown in command and control.” 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly says that every year, CPD leadership is “caught flat-footed and overwhelmed” by the large groups.

Reilly also blames the parents of the teens, telling the Chicago Sun Times, “There needs to be parental accountability for this kind of outrageous behavior.”

Police, reportedly, have said they use social media to gauge a gathering’s potential size, and cancel events, if necessary, but some posts on social media about such gatherings, they say, are fake.