CHICAGO — Small protests over the police killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo popped up across Chicago Thursday night, and businesses Downtown are preparing for unrest this weekend.
There was a heavy police presence Downtown late Thursday, where clusters of officers were seen near the Michigan Avenue and State Street commercial strips.
The Police Department said earlier in the week its heavy presence was related to “events across the country.” Officials did not mention any specific event, but along with the Toledo video, the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis Police officer on trial for killing George Floyd, will go to the jury next week. There have also been protests for several nights over the killing of Daunte Wright, who was shot and killed by a Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer during a traffic stop.
There’s also been national outrage this week over a 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.
Outside of Downtown, several small marches and demonstrations remained peaceful.
In the West Loop’s Union Park, dozens of protesters gathered beginning at about 8 p.m. Thursday. The group demanded justice for Toledo and called for the defunding of the police before marching through the West Loop.
During a tense confrontation at the Fraternal Order of Police’s union headquarters on West Washington Boulevard, the group chanted “why’d you kill a child” at officers.
As of 1 a.m. Friday, Chicago Police spokesman Ronald Westbrooks said that there had been no property damage incidents and “no arrests of note” related to the Toledo shooting throughout the city.
Downtown, bridges were down except for the Lake Shore Drive Bridge, which officials said on Wednesday was scheduled for maintenance from Thursday at 10 p.m. to Friday at 5 a.m.
Large salt trucks were also parked in front and near Police Department headquarters in Bronzeville early Friday morning. The trucks were used during last year’s unrest to block roads and commercial strips.
Still, businesses were preparing for potential looting or damage. Late Thursday, workers were boarding up entrances to the Wrigley Building at 400 N. Michigan Ave.; The Shops at North Bridge, 520 N. Michigan Ave.; Louis Vuitton, 919 N. Michigan Ave; and a variety of other businesses throughout Downtown.
Oak Street, which was closed to cars on Tuesday night, was open Thursday night, but numerous police squad cars were parked with officers at the ready.
Near the Wrigley Building, one Chicago Police Officer who did not want to give his name said while things remained calm on Thursday night, he did not feel like the threat was over.
“All is calm for now but you never know. Plus, we’ll see what happens next week in Minnesota. I’m just as worried about that,” the officer said.
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