Protests In Chicago Turn Violent With 24 Arrested And 17 Officers Injured

In Chicago, police used pepper spray and batons to repel hundreds of demonstrators, who took to the streets calling for defunding of the police. Law enforcement officials stated they made at least a dozen arrests following the demonstration which turned violent, that figure was then updated to 24 arrested.

One protester was even seen apparently bashing an officer over the head with their skateboard. That protester wasn't identified in reports as a man or woman, while the video makes it impossible to identify their gender in the large crowd of people.

Officers responded to riots ripping umbrellas and bikes from protesters' hands and sprayed the crowd with a chemical irritant, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The demonstrations began at Chicago's iconic Bean marching to Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, where multiple reports of incidents occurred.

There were numerous arrests witnessed at the scene, NBC 5 said. However, the exact number according to Chicago police was at first unclear. Although, the Chicago Sun-Times reported an update that over 24 arrests took place and 17 officers were injured in the scuffles over the weekend.

The group then continued to Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street, heading toward Chicago's Loop as city bridges remained lifted, preventing them from crossing to the Chicago River into downtown Chicago.

A heavy police presence was seen during the march with several officers both in front and behind the marching demonstrators and other lines of officers blocking streets.

The group chanted things like "no justice, no peace" as they called for defunding the police, removing police from the city's public schools, and abolishing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) centers.

Anewspost previously reported an incident where a man was shot by police that was allegedly justified due to the man being armed and firing his weapon first. That situation resulted in hundreds of people to rally in Chicago and some took the less productive approach of rioting vandalizing the city and looting. Police reported for that incident last week there were more than 100 people who were arrested and 13 officers injured.

As a result of the protests and damage done to the city, city officials decided they would lift the bridges to prevent any further destruction of businesses.

Apparently there were two marches one which Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said started about noon at Robert Taylor Park in Bronzeville, “began peacefully on the South Side as our officers ensured that demonstrators were able to have the opportunity to exercise their First Amendment right.”

The other in downtown turned violent with both protesters and police clashing. Brown said the peaceful protest was hijacked by violent agitators.  “It was not until later this afternoon, during a separate protest downtown where multiple agitators downtown hijacked this peaceful protest.," Brown said. "This group deployed large, black umbrellas, changed their appearance, and began pushing our officers and eventually assaulting them.”

Brown said police are seeking felony charges against at least four protesters for aggravated battery against a police officer.

A total of 10 elected officials have condemned the police's response to protests, calling it a "continued escalation of surveillance, violence, and detention."

Five Chicago representatives - Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez, Ald. Andre Vasquez, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Ald. Jeanette Taylor - issued a joint statement alongside four Illinois lawmakers - Sen. Robert Peters, Sen. Celina Villanueva, Rep. Lakesia Collins, and Rep. Theresa Mah, as well as Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson.

"Chicagoans have been told that it is necessary to spend 40% of the Chicago budget on police in order to prevent violence and promote public safety. Yet this weekend, just 24 hours after a 12-year-old boy was shot and at the same time as another shooting was taking place on the South Side, Mayor Lightfoot and Supt. Brown stationed thousands of officers downtown, where they kettled, pepper-sprayed, and beat demonstrators - some of them as young as 17 years old," the group's statement, circulated by the United Working Families political organization, reads in part, NBC Chicago reported.

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Alex Baldridge is an activist and freelance journalist from the midwestern United States who was inspired to become a writer after watching the development of the Wikileaks story and the persecution of Julian Assange. Alex is especially interested in topics like surveillance, the rise of automation, foreign policy, prison reform, and the legal system.