South suburbs declare curfews after violence spreads
Pritzker deploys 375 National Guard soldiers to Chicago
By Peter Hancock and Bob Bong
SPRINGFIELD – In the wake of violence, looting and arson
that gripped the city of Chicago over the weekend and spread into the south and
southwest suburbs, Gov. JB Pritzker said Sunday he has deployed 375 Illinois
National Guard soldiers to aid the city’s police department and other first
responders in maintaining law and order.
The violence broke out Saturday night in Chicago and many
other cities across the United States in response to the death in Minneapolis
of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died Monday, May 25, after being
pinned to the ground for nearly nine minutes with a white police officer’s knee
on his neck.
On Sunday, violence spread into south suburbs including
Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, North Riverside, Tinley Park, Orland Park, Lansing
and Calumet City.
Mobs looted stores in Calumet City’s River Oaks and River
Oaks West malls as well as some stores along Torrence Avenue in Lansing.
Orland Park police reported at least three people were
arrested in incidents. One adult and one juvenile were arrested attempting to
break in to a jewelry store at 151stand Regent. Another adult was arrested at Orland Square Mall
for disorderly conduct.
Contrary to rumors, officials said no buildings were torched
in any of the suburbs.
Village officials declared 9 p.m. curfews for Sunday in Oak
Lawn, Orland Park, Burbank, Alsip, Calumet Park, Chicago Ridge, Country Club Hills,
and Palos Park. Matteson set its 9 p.m. curfew for Sunday and Monday. Tinley
Park, Berwyn, Calumet City all set an 8 p.m. curfew. Evergreen Park set curfew
to start at 5 p.m. Blue Island’s
was set for 7 p.m.
“The Orland Park Police Department will continue to support
the peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights. We will not, however, tolerate
violence and property destruction. Individuals engaging in this behavior will
be arrested and prosecuted,” said Police Chief Timothy McCarthy.
During a news conference Sunday in Chicago, Pritzker stood
with three of the state’s most high-profile African-American leaders – Chicago
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton and Cook County State’s
Attorney Kimberly Foxx – to defend the rights of peaceful protesters while
blaming the violence on organized outsiders.
“I also think it’s important to recognize that for much of
the day (Saturday), the protests here in Chicago were beautiful, massive and
peaceful,” Pritzker said. “That is as much a part of the story of what’s
happening in this city, in this country, as anything else. But late in the
evening yesterday, the protests became about violence and damage, and that
changes the conversation away from the terrible acts that took George Floyd’s
life, away from the insidious racism that we all have a role in addressing.”
Lightfoot said she respects the people expressing their
First Amendment right to free speech and that she has taken part in a number of
protests herself over the years.
“But we also have an obligation to make sure that when there
are elements amongst the protesters or others who join the fray that don’t have
respect for peaceful, nonviolent protests, but do have as their design the
decision to bring hammers, shovels, bottles of urine, excrement, accelerants as
we saw throughout yesterday and into the evening, we have an obligation also to
protect life and liberty and property.”
Lightfoot said it appeared to her that much of the looting
that took place had been organized by people taking advantage of the chaos from
the protests and that the FBI was investigating.
Stratton, meanwhile, urged calm on the part of protesters.
“Our angst must be expressed peacefully,” the lieutenant
governor said. “There is a message to be heard, and it should be heard loud and
clearly. It should be heard without the distraction or disruption of the few
who taint the goal of the many.”
Adjutant General Richard Neeley said the soldiers being
deployed to Chicago come from the 33rdMilitary Police
Battalion based in Machesney Park, with companies in Springfield, Freeport and
Fort Sheridan. He said the soldiers will serve a limited role in support of the
Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police to manage street closures.
Those deployments are in addition to deployments in recent
days and weeks of National Guard troops to aid in flood-control projects along
the Illinois River and to assist in COVID-19 testing at various sites around
The violence Saturday in Chicago came as the city and the
state were just emerging from a stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19
pandemic that had virtually shut down major segments of the state’s economy.
Most of Illinois entered the partial reopening phase on Friday, but the city of
Chicago had delayed that move until Wednesday, June 3.
In preparation for the reopening, Lightfoot said,
restaurants and other businesses that had been closed down for 10 weeks had
made investments in patio furniture and other items to help them accommodate
customers in an outdoor setting, and much of that was destroyed in Saturday
“To see their hard work and their money and resources
literally go up in flames, their property reduced to kindling, that’s
heart-breaking,” Lightfoot said.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx, who was born and
raised in Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood, described her feelings after
watching the video of Floyd’s death, saying it was “angering,” and just another
symptom of the racial disparities in much of American culture.
“What I remember feeling in that moment was the casualness
of all of the things that we have experienced in this country that we were
dealing with COVID-19,” she said. “The casual acceptance of racial disparities
in health care. That when we looked at the work being done in the last few
months to deal with this pandemic, and the news came out that African-Americans
were disproportionately dying, and Latinos, the casual acceptance that that’s
what happens with underlying health conditions because the casual acceptance
that we have people living in communities that don’t have access to health
care, and we just accept it.”
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news
service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers
statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the
Robert R. McCormick Foundation
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