As protests demanding justice following the death of George Floyd take place in major cities across America, peaceful rallies turned violent in Chicago on Saturday. Videos shared on social media showed protesters looting numerous shops located in The Magnificent Mile area on May 30.
A series of videos posted by Chicago-based reporter Ben Pope on Twitter showed a protester smashing the storefront windows of Neiman Marcus with an ax, allowing a large group of people to run inside and steal items from the department store located at 737 North Michigan Avenue.
Minutes earlier, Pope posted another video on Twitter showing protesters breaking into the Nike store located nearby at 669 Michigan Avenue. The scene appeared to be absolute mayhem, with Nike’s storefront windows completely shattered. Along The Magnificent Mile, a protester was seen marching with a mobile stereo around his neck as Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” blasted for the crowds to hear.
The AT&T store on Michigan Avenue was photographed with smashed-in windows. The Chicago Tribune reported that the crowd of protesters, which started their demonstration at 2 p.m. at the Federal Plaza, grew to a mass of 3,000 people by evening. By 3:30 p.m. local time, the protesters grew violent, throwing fireworks and bottles at authorities.
In order to protect their department store from the riots taking place across Chicago, the Macy’s shop at Water Tower Place was boarded up on Saturday. However, a video shared online showed that the Macy’s shop on State Street was attacked by protesters.
Looters were seen taking off with Macy’s merchandise in the video posted by CBS Chicago reporter Charlie De Mar.
Police & Protesters Violently Clashed in Chicago & in Cities Across the United States on Saturday
The harrowing scene in Chicago was not unique to the Windy City. What were supposed to be peaceful protests turned into riots not just in Chicago, and Minneapolis, where now-fired police officer Derek Chauvin was caught on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck before he died, but in Washington, D.C., where the White House was briefly put on lockdown the night before, Louisville, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Phoenix, Memphis and Columbus.
Chicago police Superintendent David Brown and Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke out against the violent protests taking place in their city. Brown noted that they were still investigating the looting that took place on Friday evening, during which over 100 protesters were arrested, as reported by The Patch.
“Many came to the downtown area in Chicago last night,” Brown said on Saturday morning. “The protesting early on started peacefully and ended more aggressive and intense.”
On Saturday night, Lightfoot issued a city-wide curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice. “What started out as a peaceful protest has now devolved into criminal conduct,” Lightfoot said. “I’ve watched as protesters hurled not just words or projectiles at our police department, but bottles of water, urine, and lord knows what else. I saw protesters armed with shovels, bats, hammers, and metal pipes. … We’re going to give people space,” Lightfoot added, but “we won’t tolerate lawlessness.”