Access to downtown area will be restricted nightly for "foreseeable future," mayor says
CHICAGO -- Downtown Chicago looks very different Tuesday morning following the widespread property damage and looting that took place Monday.
Streets in the Loop were quiet, with an increased police presence. Access to downtown will be restricted from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. for the foreseeable future, Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
Thousands of people came into downtown Sunday night into Monday morning looting stores, breaking windows, clashing with police, and causing widespread damage all over the downtown area.
In response to the destruction, the Chicago Police Department's Detective Division has established a looting task force and is seeking help from the community. Anyone who may have videos, photos or information regarding the recent looting incidents is asked to contact the task force at firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit an anonymous tip at CPDtips.com.
While law enforcement works to track down the criminals responsible, communities are coming together to survey the damage and help businesses clean up their storefronts.
Not many expected The Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children's Hospital, a charity for families with children in the hospital, to have their doors smashed.
"[We were] very concerned there was a lot of activity right in front of the house, people making choices that could put them at risk and put our families at risk so the staff was frightened," said Lisa Mitchell, of Ronald McDonald House Charities.
More than 30 families and their sick children were inside along with staff as they helplessly watched everything unfold outside.
"They are already in a really, really difficult spot, and having this kind of additional stress and worry about getting to and from the hospital even-though we are 5 blocks away because of safety concerns is just doubling the strain," Mitchell said.
No damage was caused to the inside of the house and no one was injured. The charity said it will continue to support families through the COVID-19 pandemic and will remain open despite the looting in the area.
To donate to RMHC visit: www.rmhccni.org.
"Waking up, it's sad... It's such a beautiful city. It's just being destroyed in front of our eyes," said Maddy Quinn, Chicago resident.
Magnificent Mile Association CEO discusses Chicago looting
The restrictions Tuesday are the same as Monday night's.
Lake Shore Drive will be closed between Fullerton to the north and I-55 to the south.
Bridges will be raised at 9 p.m. with the exception of LaSalle Street, Harrison Street, Ida B. Wells/Congress Bridge (open westbound only), Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Avenue, Kinzie Street and Grand Avenue.
Access points for residents and employees who work downtown are Harrison Street, Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street, Roosevelt Road and Canal Street, Knzie Street and Halsted Street, and LaSalle Street.
All expressway ramps from Roosevelt Road to Division Street are closed in both directions during this time. Illinois State Police said the specific ramps affected are:
- Interstate 90 northbound and southbound at Division to Interstate 94 northbound and southbound at 18th Street
- Interstate 55 northbound to northbound Lakeshore Drive
- Interstate 290 eastbound at Ida B. Wells
- Interstate 80 eastbound and westbound at Torrence Avenue
- Interstate 57 northbound and southbound at 147th Street
CTA trains will not enter the area surrounding downtown; from Fullerton Avenue to 47th Street and east of Halsted Street, the agency said, but bus service will remain open. Some buses will be rerouted due to bridge and street closures.
Divvy bike service will not be available between North Avenue to Ashland Avenue and Cermak Road from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
In total, two people were shot, 13 police officers were injured and more than 100 arrests were made Monday, Chicago police said. The city had deployed more than 400 officers after seeing social media posts instructing people to loot the downtown.
The ABC7 I-Team obtained a social media post that Chicago police detectives said directed looters to converge on Gold Coast stores starting at 12 a.m. Monday. The post points looters away from the South, West and East sides, and instead tells them to target downtown and the North Side. Looters are encouraged to bring tools, ski masks and gloves.
However, 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins said he believes the city should have been better prepared.
"It's a recipe for ineffective law enforcement, and that's what we saw with this wide scale looting where the police officers were largely in a passive posture, letting it happen because they didn't know how to stop it, and it many cases if they did try to intervene it was a threat to their own life and safety," Hopkins said.
VIDEO: 2nd ward Alderman Brian Hopkins reacts to widespread looting, damage in downtown Chicago area
Many of those arrested went before Cook County judges Tuesday, and many are facing felony charges after police said they were grabbed inside stores or caught red-handed carrying clothes, shoes or jewelry as they climbed out of shattered storefront windows.
Neither police nor prosecutors have released the names of those charged, but the I-Team has monitored bond court proceedings and examined county records to get an idea of who was arrested and what is happening to the accused looters.
Many of those arrested are first time offenders.
Police said a 21-year-old Simeon High School graduate was arrested on suspicion of looting the Gucci store and was said to have $41,000 in Gucci items in his car. His bond was set at $10,000.
Another Gucci looter allegedly carried out $10,000 in merchandise, and her bond was set at $1,000.
At the Macy's in Water Tower Place, police said a 29-year-old woman was caught inside with an armful of shirts police said she dropped. Her bond was set at $2,500.
During the virtual bond hearings Tuesday, one Cook County judge said monetary bonds were important because of the disruption caused by the looting. Many, if not all, of those charged with looting will be freed on bond.