Light­foot says res­i­dents, busi­nesses are jus­ti­fi­ably ‘fear­ful’ af­ter lat­est loot­ing

Light­foot ac­knowl­edges res­i­dents, busi­nesses jus­ti­fi­ably wor­ried af­ter se­cond round of loot­ing

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY FRAN SPIELMAN, CITY HALL RE­PORTER fspiel­man@sun­ | @fspiel­man

Mayor Lori Light­foot ac­knowl­edged Tues­day that Chicago res­i­dents and busi­nesses are jus­ti­fi­ably “fear­ful” af­ter a se­cond round of loot­ing she likened to “or­ga­nized crime” and said she’s been “non­stop on the phone” to of­fer “con­crete so­lu­tions” that re­as­sure them.

Even be­fore the se­cond round of loot­ing that rav­aged gi­ant swaths of down­town, River North and Lincoln Park, Light­foot was si­mul­ta­ne­ously grap­pling with vi­o­lent crime, civil un­rest and a coro­n­avirus pan­demic that has caused un­prece­dented hard­ship and blown a $700 mil­lion hole in her 2020 bud­get.

When a po­lice shoot­ing in En­gle­wood gave or­ga­nized teams of loot­ers the ex­cuse to re­play Chicago’s night­mare, it raised le­git­i­mate ques­tions about whether busi­nesses that sur­vived the stay-at-home shut­down and sus­tained heavy losses dur­ing Round 1 of the loot­ing would have the stom­ach to re­build yet again.

Light­foot un­der­stands their fears about be­ing pro­tected if and when it hap­pens again. That’s why she’s been burn­ing the phone and Zoom lines re­as­sur­ing them that, as she put it, “We are go­ing to see our way through this chal­leng­ing con­flu­ence of events.”

The way to do that, the mayor said, is to build the strong­est pos­si­ble cases against the loot­ers and of­fer “con­crete so­lu­tions” to pro­tect res­i­dents and busi­ness own­ers who are con­cerned about the city’s abil­ity to pro­tect them if and when it hap­pens again, as Black Lives Mat­ter has warned that it will.

“Peo­ple are fear­ful. They are afraid. And it’s up to us as lead­ers to of­fer con­crete so­lu­tions and a path for­ward. And that’s what we’re gonna con­tinue to do,” the mayor said.

Light­foot says she’s spent much of the last two days “lit­er­ally non­stop” on the phone and on Zoom con­fer­ences with res­i­dents, busi­ness own­ers and CEOs “with an in­ter­est in the down­town area be­cause they live there, they work there or they shop there.”

Ac­cess to down­town was re­stricted again Tues­day night. Start­ing at 9 p.m., the city planned to raise bridges, shut down parts of Lake Shore Drive and close ex­press­way ramps.

With such mea­sures in place for the “fore­see­able fu­ture,” she’s also been on the phone re­as­sur­ing neigh­bor­hood busi­nesses that city trucks would be used to pro­tect their lo­cal com­mer­cial cor­ri­dors.

“I want to make sure that, one, I’m lis­ten­ing and I’m hear­ing the raw emo­tions of peo­ple who are afraid and want con­crete so­lu­tions and that I’m reach­ing out and of­fer­ing very spe­cific, con­crete so­lu­tions,” she said.

“Part of the rea­son that I’ve em­pha­sized that we are gonna not spare any ex­pense to bring those who are re­spon­si­ble for loot­ing ... to jus­tice is be­cause I un­der­stand that peo­ple were just start­ing to re­cover. They were just start­ing to get their foot­ing.”

Light­foot said this has been a “hel­luva year” for small-busi­ness own­ers. Many are neigh­bor­hood busi­nesses hir­ing lo­cal res­i­dents and have been in the same fam­ily for gen­er­a­tions.

“We can’t al­low crim­i­nals to tar­nish their legacy, their busi­nesses, but more im­por­tantly their hope. I’m not gonna let that hap­pen. And we are go­ing hard at the peo­ple who are re­spon­si­ble,” she said.

“It’s not op­por­tunis­tic and spon­ta­neous when you al­ready have UHaul vans and cargo vans and you come equipped with pre­ci­sion tools to break into stores, to break into safes, to haul off cash reg­is­ters and when you are com­ing with arms to fight off the po­lice . ... While there ab­so­lutely was a layer of op­por­tunis­tic in­di­vid­u­als, this was also or­ga­nized crime. And we are go­ing to break th­ese crews and th­ese rings and we are gonna bring them to jus­tice. That is what we owe the res­i­dents of this city. Pe­riod.”

On a con­fer­ence call with City Hall re­porters, Light­foot and Po­lice

Supt. David Brown ac­knowl­edged the po­lice shoot­ing in En­gle­wood that helped trig­ger the down­town loot­ing would have been more eas­ily jus­ti­fied by po­lice body­cam video.

The lack of video al­lowed er­ro­neous ru­mors to spread on so­cial me­dia that Chicago po­lice had shot an un­armed 15-year-old. The man who was shot was 20-year-old La­trell Allen. He has been charged with two counts of at­tempted mur­der for shoot­ing at of­fi­cers be­fore they shot him.

Brown told Light­foot about two weeks ago “there was an is­sue with the num­ber of body cam­eras. And that does di­rectly stem from the terms of the [po­lice] con­tract ... pre­vi­ously ne­go­ti­ated by the prior [Emanuel] ad­min­is­tra­tion which, as we now know, is highly, highly prob­lem­atic and we are ag­gres­sively work­ing to rene­go­ti­ate,” the mayor said.

“We can’t have peo­ple who are out on the street who are in­ter­fac­ing with the pub­lic on a reg­u­lar ba­sis that don’t have body cam­eras,” Light­foot said, adding that Brown has “ini­ti­ated ef­forts now to make sure that we have body cam­eras in ev­ery team that’s out there en­gag­ing with mem­bers of the pub­lic.”

Brown said he’s “scrub­bing the in­ven­tory of body­cams so that we can re­dis­tribute a con­tin­gent of body­cams to some of th­ese teams that were cre­ated from of­fi­cers who were at one time in plain­clothes and now are in the neigh­bor­hoods pa­trolling them.”

Light­foot and Brown have both ac­cused the state’s at­tor­ney’s of­fice of go­ing easy on loot­ers dur­ing Round 1.

On Tues­day, the mayor said there is “nat­u­ral ten­sion” be­tween pros­e­cu­tors and po­lice, but she hopes to build a “healthy” work­ing re­la­tion­ship. That’s even though the mayor claimed there has been an “evo­lu­tion” in the state’s at­tor­ney’s stan­dards for prose­cut­ing cases as a felony and that the Chicago Po­lice Depart­ment is try­ing to “adapt to those stan­dards.”

The man who fired at Chicago po­lice be­fore he was shot and in­jured by the of­fi­cers in En­gle­wood on Sun­day — touch­ing off a night of theft and prop­erty de­struc­tion down­town — was armed with a weapon at a park where there were chil­dren, Cook County pros­e­cu­tors said.

As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney James Mur­phy Tues­day praised of­fi­cers for ar­riv­ing so quickly af­ter a 911 caller re­ported La­trell Allen was fight­ing and re­fus­ing to leave the scene. If they had not re­sponded sooner, “We could be talk­ing about an­other dead child shot in our city,” he said.

Allen’s fam­ily de­nied he had a gun, and the of­fi­cers weren’t wear­ing body cam­eras, but Mur­phy said the ini­tial po­lice pur­suit of the 20-year-old was recorded by po­lice POD cam­eras.

“He was will­ing to shoot mul­ti­ple times at armed law en­force­ment as they were chas­ing him; he cer­tainly poses a dan­ger and wouldn’t think twice about shoot­ing up a park or any­body else for that mat­ter,” the pros­e­cu­tor said.

As­sis­tant Pub­lic De­fender Scott Fin­ger ques­tioned why the of­fi­cers were not wear­ing body cam­eras, stress­ing such footage would have been valu­able in back­ing up their ac­count of the shoot­ing.

“In 2020, [Chicago po­lice] can’t get cam­eras on th­ese of­fi­cers?” Fin­ger said. “I think there’s an ex­pec­ta­tion that ev­ery of­fi­cer have a cam­era th­ese days. The depart­ment is un­der a con­sent de­cree af­ter the [U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice] found a pat­tern of ex­ces­sive force and civil rights vi­o­la­tions. And they’re out there with­out cam­eras?”

Po­lice also did not test Allen’s hands for gun­shot residue, Fin­ger said, telling Judge Su­sana Or­tiz that she could draw her own “in­fer­ences” as to why.

How­ever, Or­tiz said she found the al­le­ga­tions against Allen par­tic­u­larly dan­ger­ous.

Allen, who was not in court Tues­day be­cause he was re­cov­er­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago Med­i­cal Cen­ter from gun­shot wounds to his cheek and abdomen, was or­dered held on $1 mil­lion bail for at­tempted first-de­gree mur­der of a po­lice of­fi­cer and un­law­ful use of a weapon.

Af­ter Allen was wounded, co­or­di­nated loot­ing took place down­town and in the Near North Side overnight. “Tem­pers flared, fu­eled by mis­in­for­ma­tion” about an “un­armed ju­ve­nile” be­ing shot by po­lice, Mayor Lori Light­foot and Po­lice Supt. David Brown said.

Pros­e­cu­tors said four of­fi­cers, part of a re­cently cre­ated com­mu­nity polic­ing unit, were in an un­marked car but in full uni­form when they ar­rived at Mo­ran Park near 57th Street and Racine Av­enue on Sun­day af­ter­noon re­spond­ing to a call of a per­son with a gun.

The po­lice SUV’s emer­gency lights were ac­ti­vated when the of­fi­cers pulled up, caus­ing Allen to run, and three of the of­fi­cers gave chase on foot, fol­lowed by the fourth of­fi­cer, Mur­phy said.

Allen pulled out a gun be­fore run­ning into the east al­ley in the 5600 block of Aberdeen Street, where he turned and fired at two of the pur­su­ing of­fi­cers, Mur­phy said.

The of­fi­cers could see the bul­lets hit the ground be­tween them and re­turned fire, Mur­phy said.

Allen fell, but then got up and con­tin­ued run­ning into a back­yard. He ended up in a nearby home, and a rel­a­tive called 911 to re­port he had been shot.

Of­fi­cers fol­lowed a blood trail into the home and down the base­ment, where they called out to Allen, pros­e­cu­tors said. He even­tu­ally came up the stairs and was taken into cus­tody.

A 9mm hand­gun and eight shell cas­ings were found in the al­ley near where po­lice al­lege Allen fired the shots. Ad­di­tional 9mm shell cas­ings from the of­fi­cers’ guns were also re­cov­ered but had a dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent ap­pear­ance, pros­e­cu­tors said.

Illi­nois State Po­lice had not fin­ished test­ing of the re­cov­ered gun for DNA nor com­pleted bal­lis­tics ex­am­i­na­tions Tues­day.

So­cial me­dia posts show Allen “flash­ing gang signs” and hold­ing a va­ri­ety of weapons, in­clud­ing a hand­gun that looks “ex­actly” like the one re­cov­ered in the al­ley, Mur­phy said.

Allen, who pleaded guilty to a felony bur­glary case last year, was also or­dered held with­out bail Tues­day for vi­o­lat­ing his pro­ba­tion in that case.

Allen also faces a pend­ing mis­de­meanor reck­less con­duct and child en­dan­ger­ment charges, pros­e­cu­tors said.

Allen was taken into cus­tody on March 26 af­ter he was al­legedly seen hold­ing a young child and run­ning through backyards in an at­tempt to evade of­fi­cers who were re­spond­ing to a re­port of a per­son with gun. The caller who made the re­port said Allen had threat­ened to shoot his 1-year-old baby on Face­book un­less he was given money, Mur­phy said.


Po­lice stand guard on the Mag­nif­i­cent Mile on Mon­day morn­ing af­ter loot­ing overnight. In the back­ground, the Michi­gan Ave. bridge over the Chicago River has been lifted to re­strict travel into and out of the Loop.


The Dior store at Rush and Wal­ton streets was among the bou­tiques looted early Mon­day.


Po­lice were called near the 5700 block of South Racine Av­enue on Sun­day af­ter a re­port of a per­son with a gun.

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