DOWNTOWN — After Downtown was rocked by widespread looting overnight Sunday, shop owners picked up the pieces Monday, just as many of them did two months ago after looting and protests.
The May looting downtown came after thousands of Chicago protesters demanded justice after police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis. The unrest Sunday came hours after police shot a 20-year-old man in Englewood on the South Side.
In a statement, police said the man fired at police officers, who then shot him. The man is being treated at University of Chicago hospital and is expected to survive, Supt. David Brown said.
On Monday, contractors cut up plywood to protect Dalal Food & Liquor, 414 N. State St., after it was looted. Inside, owner Yogi Dalal worked to clean up the shop’s ransacked shelves.
A family member was on the phone trying to deactivate the store’s digital devices after they were stolen.
“This is my whole life savings,” said Dalal, who has owned the shop for 33 years.
Through the missing glass door, Dalal occasionally made eye contact with his “regulars,” who would stop as they looked inside the shop. One woman folded her hands in prayer before walking on.
At a ransacked 7-Eleven at State and Hubbard, Chicago Police officers worked with employees to assess the damages.
Tom Kalayil, the franchisee of the chain convenience store, said this was the second time the store was looted in recent months, on top of its sales being hard hit by coronavirus closures.
Kalayil channeled Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s remarks from a morning press conference, calling the looting “criminal acts.”
“Demonstrating peacefully is great, but this … this is done intentionally,” he said in a sea of damaged goods as an alarm chirped in the background.
Police monitoring social media said they saw posts encouraging people to form a car caravan to the Loop so they could loot, Brown said.
“This was not an organized protest; rather, this was an incident of pure criminality. This was an act of violence against our police officers and against our city,” he said during a Monday morning press conference.
Dozens of stores had windows smashed and merchandise stolen, including in River North, the Gold Coast, the Loop and South Loop. Damage was also seen at the Apple store at North and Clybourn in Lincoln Park. The first incident of looting happened at a store near 87th and the Dan Ryan, Brown said.
A scared cleaning crew locked themselves inside Nordstrom, according to reports.
Several people looting were seen hauling off stolen merchandise that they had to set down on the sidewalk while they waited to get a ride.
Police sent 400 officers to the Downtown area, where looting soon began, Brown said.
What happened is “deeply painful,” Lightfoot said. “This was an assault on our city. … It undermines public safety and breeds a sense of insecurity among our residents.”
Lightfoot and Brown said more than 100 people were arrested for things like disorderly conduct, battery to officers and theft. They called on the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to prosecute those people, saying they need to know there will be consequences for looting.
In the Loop, jeweler Paul Young’s shop sat with vacant shelfs, though its storefront was full of people helping clean up the damage, including longtime customer Enrico Mirabelli.
Mirabelli was walking to work when he saw Young’s store in need of help.
“If you’re a friend, you can’t just walk by,” he said.
“It’s hard to look at this. All you can hope is that there’ll be consequences,” Mirabelli said.
“It’s a very shameful day for Chicago,” he said, picking up shattered glass.
In a statement, Black Lives Matter Chicago activists said Black lives are more important than “downtown corporations who siphon Tax Increment Financing (T.I.F.) money” and exploit the labor of Black and Brown Chicagoans.
“These corporations have ‘looted’ more from our communities than a few protesters ever could, yet the mayor reserves her anger for the latter,” organizers said. “We will remain in the streets until our demands are met.”
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