CHICAGO — The city is taking steps to protect the Downtown area and neighborhood commercial strips amid recent police shootings — and that includes deploying more officers and putting out trucks that can be used to block roads.
The Police Department said it is “closely monitoring events across the country” in a statement Monday. Officials did not mention any specific events, but tension has been heightened in the city after a police officer killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo on March 29. Video of that shooting is expected to be released this week.
In Minneapolis, there’s been protests during the trial for Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed George Floyd. Minnesota is also seeing protests over the killing of Daunte Wright, whom a police officer shot and killed during a traffic stop.
There’s also been national outrage this week over newly released video that shows how police treated Caron Nazario in West Virginia. Police used pepper spray on Nazario, a second lieutenant for the Army Medical Corps, and pushed him to the ground during a traffic stop in December.
“While there is no actionable intelligence at this time, out of an abundance of caution, [the Police Department] will be deploying additional resources across communities citywide, neighborhood retail corridors and the Downtown business district,” Police Department officials said in a statement on Twitter.
On Monday, some officers had their days off canceled, and there was a heavy police presence along Michigan Avenue from the river north to Oak Street late in the day. Officers sat in their cars with their flashing lights on, and Oak Street — home to some of Chicago’s most expensive stores — was closed to drivers from Rush Street to Michigan Avenue.
Several dozen officers on bicycles rode around the Downtown area, and there was also a heavy police presence on State Street from Jackson Street to Lake Street.
The weekend saw some Downtown stores burglarized, but there’s been no widespread looting comparable to what Chicago experienced in the summer and fall. Demonstrations and marches in honor of Toledo have been peaceful.
Unlike during last year’s unrest, most stores in Chicago’s Downtown area were not boarded up Monday night.
Bridges over the Chicago River were down, allowing drivers to pass, but vehicles from the Department of Streets and Sanitation and the Transportation Department were parked nearby. Police were also parked with their lights flashing near Trump Tower and in front of Holy Name Cathedral.
Large salt trucks were also parked in front and near Police Department headquarters in Bronzeville early Tuesday morning. The trucks were used during last year’s unrest to block roads to protect commercial strips.
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