Updated Apr 18, 2023 - News

Chicago police investigate officer response to weekend violence

Illustration of a star-shaped spotlight on a police hat.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The Chicago Police Department is investigating an allegation that police refused to stop and help a couple under attack in the Loop Saturday night.

Driving the news: Witness Lenora Dennis told WGN she tried to alert officers to the beating by waving down an approaching police car.

  • "I literally stepped in front of a squad car and motioned them over to see this was an assault on the street in progress; and the police just drove around me," she said.
  • CPD told Axios there's an internal investigation into the allegation.

Between the lines: A video is circulating online showing a woman being beaten in a crowd in downtown Chicago.

  • CPD spokesperson Don Terry couldn't verify the video, but told Axios a woman and a man filed a police report Saturday night after being attacked and robbed in the Loop.
  • The report says they were treated for minor injuries. Police are investigating. So far, no one is in custody for the attack.

Context: CPD officials say 16 people have been arrested so far.

The big picture: Politicians and activists are criticizing city police response and calling for better law enforcement strategies.

  • During a meeting with police on Tuesday, Mayor Lightfoot demanded answers for why officers couldn't control downtown crowds, the Chicago Tribune reports.
  • Alds. Brendan Reilly and Brian Hopkins, whose wards include parts of downtown, called out CPD leaders on Monday, with Hopkins calling the police response a "total breakdown in command and control," per the Sun-Times.

What's ahead: CPD said in a statement that it's increasing "police and command staff presence at these gatherings citywide" and "monitoring all activity and police cameras to assist in the proactive reallocation of resources when necessary."

  • Officers will enforce "bag checks at beach entry points and the curfew for minors at Millennium Park."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to add comment from the Chicago Police Department and to include reporting about a meeting between Mayor Lightfoot and police.

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