PRO­TEC­TION PLAN

Mayor’s new mea­sures to quell loot­ing in­clude CPD so­cial me­dia task force, ‘geo­graphic lock­downs,’ more body cam­eras

Chicago Sun-Times - - CHICAGO SUN TIMES - MITCH DUDEK RE­PORTS,

CPD so­cial me­dia task force, more body cam­eras, ‘geo­graphic lock­downs’ among mea­sures to safe­guard city rat­tled by re­peated loot­ing

Seek­ing to re­as­sure a city rat­tled by re­peated loot­ing in re­cent weeks, Mayor Lori Light­foot on Fri­day ticked off mea­sures that will be taken to pre­vent fur­ther may­hem and noted “we sim­ply must do bet­ter and we will do bet­ter.”

A so­cial me­dia task force has been cre­ated within the Chicago Po­lice Depart­ment to ex­pand ef­forts to scour the in­ter­net around the clock for any hint that loot­ing might be in the works.

An ad­di­tional 500 body-worn cam­eras will be de­ployed to po­lice to help de­crease in­ci­dents that aren’t caught on video — like the shoot­ing in En­gle­wood that au­thor­i­ties sus­pect helped spark the loot­ing this week.

Of­fi­cers will be de­ployed in a mo­ment’s no­tice to rapidly quell un­rest, and “geo­graphic lock­downs” will also be swift as city de­part­ments will co­or­di­nate the use of large ve­hi­cles to block streets, Light­foot said.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from peo­ple, they’re ner­vous, they’re scared, they’re wor­ried, they’re think­ing about whether or not their life can con­tinue as they ex­pect it to in this great city of Chicago,” Light­foot said.

“So we’ve got to re­store con­fi­dence by mak­ing sure that the mea­sures we take are proac­tive, that we are ag­gres­sive, and when some­one dares chal­lenge our re­solve that we hold them re­spon­si­ble.”

Light­foot made her re­marks at a news con­fer­ence held along the wa­ter­front just north of Navy Pier.

She chose a pic­turesque back­drop of the city’s sky­line and in­vited fed­eral, lo­cal and state law en­force­ment lead­ers to project strength in num­bers.

Two po­lice boats float­ing nearby had the ef­fect of lim­it­ing the noise of a nor­mally bois­ter­ous group of boaters who’d gath­ered in an area of Lake Michi­gan known as the “play pen.”

A po­lice he­li­copter per­formed a low al­ti­tude flyby as Cook County State’s At­tor­ney Kim Foxx spoke, forc­ing her to pause.

“Let me be crys­tal clear ... we do not al­low for any ex­cuse for the crim­i­nal­ity that we saw this past week­end,” said Foxx, not­ing that nearly 350 felony cases had been ap­proved by her of­fice re­lated to loot­ing since May, in­clud­ing 42 just this week.

The top pros­e­cu­tor’s com­ments came just days af­ter Light­foot and Chicago Po­lice Supt. David Brown called for Foxx to take a hard line on loot­ers.

Emmerson Buie Jr., di­rec­tor of the FBI’s Chicago field of­fice, spoke force­fully.

“We’ve all come to­gether and said ‘It’s enough’...and we have to take a stand,” he said, not­ing that his agents, along with po­lice de­tec­tives, were seek­ing ad­di­tional help from the pub­lic in iden­ti­fy­ing loot­ers who were cap­tured on film.

About 1,000 ad­di­tional po­lice of­fi­cers will be on the street for the time be­ing, with reg­u­lar days off on hold, and ex­tra hours be­ing tacked on to cre­ate 12-hour shifts.

Asked if he plans to have of­fi­cers use tear gas against loot­ers, Brown said pep­per spray “has been ef­fec­tive, and we’ll con­tinue us­ing that.”

Light­foot said the mea­sures were part of a “com­pre­hen­sive plan” to ad­dress re­cent law­less­ness that’s in­cluded “car­a­vans” of loot­ers head­ing to com­mer­cial dis­tricts.

Light­foot was asked: What took so long to come up with this plan when loot­ing first oc­curred at the end of May dur­ing protests fol­low­ing Ge­orge Floyd’s killing by a Min­neapo­lis po­lice of­fi­cer?

“It’s not ‘What took so long?’ When we see new chal­lenges and threats to our city we have to be nim­ble, we have to ad­just, and what you heard to­day and what you will be see­ing this week and the fore­see­able fu­ture is us be­ing re­spon­sive to our busi­nesses, to our res­i­dents, and un­der­stand­ing the in­tel­li­gence that we have re­ceived about po­ten­tial threats,” she said.

“It’s about mak­ing sure that we are here in the mo­ment, and bring­ing the re­sources to bear to re­spond to this mo­ment.”

PAT NABONG/SUN-TIMES

Flanked by other of­fi­cials, Mayor Lori Light­foot speaks Fri­day about the city’s strat­egy to cur­tail re­cent loot­ing and law­less­ness.

PAT NABONG/SUN-TIMES

Cook County State’s At­tor­ney Kim Foxx and Mayor Lori Light­foot share an el­bow bump Fri­day, days af­ter the mayor called on Foxx to take a harder line on loot­ers.

ASHLEE REZIN GAR­CIA/SUN-TIMES

Oliver Peo­ples was hit dur­ing loot­ing on Sun­day and Mon­day.

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