Chicago Mayor Imposes Overnight Curfew After Protest Violence

WBBM Newsradio Staff
May 30, 2020 - 9:05 pm
Chicago Protest Violence

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Saturday there will be an overnight curfew lasting until 6 a.m. Sunday, following George Floyd protests that devolved into violence and looting. 

Essential workers are exempt from the curfew, an alert from the city said. 

Lightfoot said she would not let things escalate further, after demonstrators continuously clashed with police in Chicago's downtown. At one point, protesters squared off with Chicago police on one of the bridges connecting the Loop with River North, near Trump Tower. There were anecdotal reports of fires and break-ins at retail stores during the second straight day of protests here in response to the racially charged death of Floyd, a black man, who died in police custody in Minneapolis early this week. 

Lightfoot said some protesters armed themselves with makeshift weapons such as baseball bats and shovels.

"What started off as a peaceful protest has now devolved into criminal conduct," a grim Lightfoot said at a Saturday evening news conference. "I watched as protesters hurled not just words but projectiles at our police department -- bottles of water, urine and lord knows what else."

A white officer filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes has been charged with third-degree murder. He and three other officers at the scene were fired, and an investigation continues. But the death has spawned rage and protests across the U.S.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said his officers have done their best to be professional as they faced an onslaught of physical abuse and have suffered injuries. He said police will enforce the curfew and arrest trouble-makers who commit crimes, he said.

Lightfoot made the announcement less than an hour before the 9 p.m. curfew began and said people would have enough time to comply and head home. She said she was in touch with Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker but declined to say what state government resources might be brought to bear. An obvious possibility: the Illinois National Guard.