“Vigilantes” planned an “ambush” of police officers, leading to violence among activists and police at what was supposed to be a peaceful protest Friday in Grant Park, officials said Monday.
On Monday, the department said that the protest organizers knew that violence was planned. Mayor Lori Lightfoot refuted that claim and said “vigilantes” hijacked the peaceful protest.
The Chicago Police Department released a video they said shows people at the protest dressing in black, forming a phalanx with umbrellas and then throwing items at officers.
Police officials said the attack was a planned “ambush” of officers that left 49 injured, including one who had his eye socket broken and another who had his kneecap broken by thrown objects.
Book Club Chicago reports that protesters were also injured in the clash, including an 18-year-old activist who had her tooth knocked out when an officer hit her.
The protest was organized to empower Indigenous people in Chicago and to call for the removal of a Christopher Columbus statue at the park.
The violent clashes between protesters and police that left activists bloodied and police injured.
Police released video clips from throughout the protest, saying it showed the protest turn into a “riot” as people hid behind umbrellas and banners so they could change into black clothing. They put up umbrellas, formed a wall and marched on officers who were positioned around the Columbus statue, police said.
The people in black clothing then used PVC pipe that had been “sharpened to a point” and jabbed at officers, while some dumped out items, including frozen cans and bottles, so others could grab them and throw them at officers, police said.
Some people threw explosive devices at officers; one damaged an officer’s eye, and he might require surgery, police said. In all, 18 officers had to go to a hospital after Friday’s clash.
“What you see here was obviously an ambush on the police officers,” police said during the Monday morning press conference.
Until the police are free to use overwhelming force against violent rioters this will continuehttps://t.co/g3CU945AxG
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) July 18, 2020
Supt. David Brown said the peaceful protest had been “hijacked by organized mobs.” Twelve people were arrested for mob action, battery to a police officer and criminal damage to property, he said.
Brown, asked if he thought organizers of the protest knew a group was planning to incite violence there, said, “God, I hope not, but it sure looks like it.”
“We’ll have to change the way we deploy our resources, how we’re trained, the expectations of First Amendment protests have to include” this level of violence, Brown said.
Mayor Lightfoot said Monday that the video showed “vigilantes, people who came for a fight.”
She also criticized the police, saying she was “not happy” with some of the things she saw as protesters were injured.
Lightfoot encouraged people who experienced police misconduct to file an investigation with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.