CHICAGO — Businesses throughout Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, Gold Coast, Loop and Lincoln Park areas were smashed and looted as hundreds of rioters took to the streets in violent chaos during the overnight hours early Monday after a false report was circulated online mischaracterizing the exchange of gunfire between an Englewood man and Chicago police. More than 100 people were arrested and 13 police officers were injured in the mayhem.
“It’s such a beautiful city. It’s just being destroyed in front of our eyes,” resident Maddy Quinn lamented to ABC-7 News.
According to reports, Chicago police received a phone call on Sunday afternoon about a man who had a gun. Upon locating an individual who matched the description of the suspect, the gunman began to flee, but as he was being pursued, the man, now identified as Latrell Allen, began firing upon the responding officers, who then likewise discharged their weapons.
The 20-year-old suspect, who was injured in the incident, apparently has a lengthy criminal record. He is expected to survive and has been charged with two counts of attempted murder.
However, false information soon began to spread via social media claiming that Chicago police had shot and killed a 15-year-old boy, and residents became upset that law enforcement had killed a young teen.
“Tempers flared, fueled by misinformation,” Police Superintendent David Brown explained on Monday, as reported by the Chicago Sun Times. Mayor Lori Lightfoot also confirmed that the individual was “not an unarmed juvenile” as was “propagated on social media.”
However, due to the rumors, an uprising soon began to be organized, and a social media post advised of a “caravan” of vehicles on the way. Large crowds descended upon Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, where they began to smash the windows of high-end businesses and loot the contents.
Among the businesses affected include Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Giorgio Armani and Louis Vuitton.
Other businesses in the Gold Coast, Loop and Lincoln Park areas were damaged and looted as well.
An estimated 400 police officers were dispatched to the scene, seeking to break up the crowds. Even before the looting took place, ABC-7 reports, angry residents threw a brick through the window of a squad car and one maced a police officer.
NPR also outlines that during the overnight rioting, one security guard was shot and is now listed in critical condition. Officers suffered various injuries, from a broken nose to being struck by a bottle.
“This was an act of violence against our police officers and against our city,” Police Superintendent David Brown declared on Monday. “Criminals took to the streets with the confidence that there would be no consequences for their actions.”
More than 100 people have been arrested, being charged with crimes that range from theft, disorderly conduct and battery of police.
According to NBC Chicago, members of Black Lives Matter held a rally outside the South Loop police station on Monday to defend the looters, with one organizer justifying the stealing as helping to feed or clothe people and to also serve as racial “reparations.”
“I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats,” Ariel Atkins told the outlet. “That makes sure that person has clothes.”
“That is reparations,” she asserted. “Anything they want to take, take it because these businesses have insurance.”