Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the rioting and looting that occurred in her city Sunday night and Monday morning were the result of a coordinated and pre-planned attack, not organic protests of an officer-involved shooting, according to Time.
Businesses in downtown Chicago were damaged and looted for the second time in the past few months, and the situation got so out of control that the city raised the bridges leading into the area to limit access.
The violence was allegedly sparked by the non-fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Latrell Allen on Sunday afternoon. Allen stands charged with first-degree attempted murder and possession of a concealed weapon, and reportedly shot at police first.
Lightfoot acknowledges that some of the unrest may have come from legitimate protesters, but said most of the damage was done by highly organized criminals looking to take advantage of the chaos.
“When people showed up on Michigan Avenue in the downtown area with U-Haul trucks and cargo vans, and sophisticated equipment used to cut metal, and the methods that were used, and how quickly it got spun up … that wasn’t any spontaneous reaction,” Lightfoot told Time. “To be sure, there are people that did join in that were motivated by lots of different reasons, and certainly were motivated by social media posts encouraging people to come downtown. But the core of what happened — that’s organized criminal activity. … It was a planned attack.”
There were reportedly more than 1,800 911 calls made between midnight and 3 a.m., and Lightfoot said looters chose to strike during that time, knowing there would be fewer police officers on duty.
Black Lives Matter Chicago disagrees with Lightfoot’s claim that the unrest was not organic, saying it was a direct result of frustration and distrust of police. The organization blamed Lightfoot for leaving Chicagoans with no option besides protest to create change.
“If mayor Lori Lightfoot is upset about the protests last night, then a plausible answer would be to provide an outlet for the people to exert control over the policing of their community,” a BLM Chicago statement read. “Instead, the mayor has opposed and ignored the demand for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) which would empower the people to get justice for police violence and enact the systemic changes needed to prevent it in the future.”