It has been a difficult and mournful day and night in Chicago. A peaceful protest of the murder of George Floyd has been taken over by looters and rioters.
As you know, downtown, River North and the South Loop were heavily damaged. According to the Mayor,
about 68 police cars were damaged, 240 were arrested, 20 or more officers were sent to the hospital. Six people were shot, one a homicide.
Many of you have seen photos of police being insulted and assaulted, including several being pulled off their bicycles. I want to thank the police department for their brave actions and restraint.
The mayor and the governor have decided to engage the National Guard to create a perimeter around the downtown area, to help bulwark the police. The overnight curfew will remain in effect, and downtown will be closed for business today. According to the Mayor's Office, access to the the following areas is limited to “employees whose businesses are located within the designated boundaries, individuals who reside in the surrounding area and residents engaged in essential activities.”
- Division St. from Lake Shore Drive and N. Halsted St.
- N. Halsted from Division St. to Milwaukee Ave. and Grand Ave.
- Milwaukee Ave. from Grand Ave. to Kinzie St.
- Canal St. from Kinzie St. to 26th St.
- 26th St. from Canal St. to Lake Shore Drive
The CTA trains will be closed between 47th and Belmont and east of Western.
CTA buses will not run in the area between Western and the lakefront, from Fullerton to 47th Street.
Entrances to and from Lake Shore Drive are closed at North, Fullerton and Belmont and others up to Hollywood.
Unfortunately, some businesses in and around our community were vandalized or looted. I toured the ward today and those that experienced damage and looting include the New City shopping area, Fay Jewelers, James Jewelers (New City), Steve Quick Jewelers, convenience stores such at Country Fresh on Clark, Park View, Game Stop and Target on Clark Street (window damage only), and the CVS at Sedgwick and Armitage. Stores outside our ward near Clybourn, including Best Buy, the CVS at Willow and Sheffield, and Binny's were also significantly damaged and robbed. The Apple Store is boarded up preventatively.
I have spoken with managers and owners of several businesses. All were cleaning up and seeking to reopen. Kunal Patel, owner of Park View convenience store on Clark Street, said his store was systematically robbed for two hours last night. Despite the damage to his business, he told me:
"We are part of the neighborhood. We are grateful for all our neighbors coming out to support us."
In most cases, items targeted were pharmaceuticals, lottery tickets, expensive merchandise, and ATM machines. Photos depicting some of the damage are on our
In River North, many storefronts and restaurants were vandalized as well.
This is still an active situation. This morning, I advocated strongly to the police and City to close the North Avenue and Fullerton El stations. We are encouraging our businesses to take steps to secure their stores, including removing outdoor furniture. We have asked Streets and Sanitation to remove unbolted trash cans from Clark, Lincoln and Armitage.
Destruction in the city like this has not occurred since 1968. That led to dramatic disinvestment in our city as a whole, which has yet to be replenished. Along with that economic disinvestment was the social disinvestment in our communities of color. Over the past nine years, we have struggled to try to increase investment in these communities and raise educational achievement. Much more needs to be done.
I am a law and order person by nature. I don't like guns in the hands of anyone but the police. I think people should obey the law and protest peacefully. We are righteously angry at the murder of George Floyd, and at the cases both recent and past, of black men being killed by police unjustifiably. At the same time we support our police, we must continue the work of police reform.
Please join me, Mayor Lightfoot, and fellow Chicagoans at 5 p.m. for a moment of silence.
Here in our peaceful neighborhood, please shelter in place tonight. We have worked together the last 10 weeks to support one another during the COVID pandemic. That is not over, and we fear the events of the last few days will continue to fuel that crisis.
Please stay home today, and come together as a city with all of those who are in pain.
Stay well and stay home.