CHICAGO — Facing backlash, the Chicago Police Department deleted all but one of its tweets featuring mugshots and the home-block addresses of people arrested at a weekend demonstration in the Loop.
The demonstration turned violent, with clashes breaking out between police and protesters. Within hours, the department tweeted out mugshots and identifying information — including the home blocks — of people who faced criminal charges after the youth-led demonstration.
The tweets drew condemnation from elected officials, including Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), and numerous citizens. They called on the department to remove the tweets immediately, with Sigcho-Lopez asking the department to “stop doxxing my innocent-until proven-guilty residents.”
By Monday afternoon, all but one of the tweets had been deleted.
“We are extremely concerned because before there are any convictions these mugshots were already circulating fairly quickly,” Sigcho-Lopez said Monday.
In similar statements, spokespeople from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office and the Police Department said they listened to the concerns about violating the privacy of people who’d been arrested and agreed Chicago Police will no longer tweet addresses for people who have been charged.
The department will still publicly release arrest report information identifying people who are detained, as required by state law.
The department “hears and deeply understands the concerns from community members regarding the privacy and safety of … residents, which is why the department has updated its protocols to reflect those concerns and will no longer include residential addresses of offenders in our social media posts,” according to the Police Department’s statement.
“The mayor deeply respects all individuals’ rights to privacy, which is why after hearing the concerns from community members regarding this practice, the Mayor’s Office worked with the Chicago Police Department to discontinue it,” according to the Mayor’s Office’s statement. “The mayor along with [the Chicago Police Department] will continue to work with all residents to ensure their concerns are heard loud and clear.”
Even though the tweets were removed, Sigcho-Lopez said city leaders should explain why such posts were necessary in the first place.
“What did they accomplish?” he said. “We are asking for an explanation of what transpired and the tactics like [these mugshots on Twitter] that put in jeopardy the safety and wellbeing of our residents.”
Sigcho-Lopez and other aldermen also criticized the police tactics during the protests. Several videos from reporters and demonstrators showed police boxing in protesters Saturday in the Loop, employing a controversial tactic known as “kettling.” The tactic has led to lawsuits and large settlements in the past.
When asked about the kettling Monday, Supt. David Brown said, “I haven’t heard those allegations, that there was kettling going on. There’s video captured. People can judge for themselves.”
Sigcho-Lopez, Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th), Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd) and state legislators and county officials released a collective statement condemning police conduct.
“We once again condemn Mayor Lightfoot and Superintendent Brown for their use of police force against these demonstrators on Saturday night, and for the continued escalation of surveillance, violence, and detention of protesters,” their statement said.
“We question the logic of spending police dollars on social media surveillance, pepper spray and riot gear to beat teenagers while the directives of the federal consent decree go unmet and the murder clearance rate remains abysmally low.”
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.