|Chicago’s Water Tower and Jane Byrne Plaza | Wikipedia|
UPDATE MAY 8: Local alderman now says cops were “vastly outnumbered” and an internal review is underway to determine why police “early warning” system about mob actions failed. See our full update on this development HERE. Our original report follows.
At least four people were injured and two arrests were made after a large group of teenagers went wild near Chicago’s historic Water Tower on Saturday evening, according to police and witnesses.
Security at the Water Tower Place shopping mall reported the first sign of trouble around 8:20 p.m. Fifty teenagers were said to be involved in a fight near the mall entrance at 845 North Michigan Avenue.
Police summoned an ambulance for an injured juvenile.
As the shopping mall incident mellowed, sparks flew again less than a block away near the landmark historic Water Tower and Jane Byrne Plaza.
“These guys are running amok, they knocked an old lady down by Ghiradelli,” came one report.
“They’re attacking people now,” another officer reported via radio.
“All units down to Water Tower,” ordered the police dispatcher.
After the woman was reported injured, a male tourist was reportedly battered and shoved under a horse carriage. He declined medical attention.
A Mag Mile resident told CWBChicago, “I went downstairs to warn security…and I saw police tackle and handcuff a teenage male.” The witness estimated that “300 to 400” people were involved in the melee. That number was later echoed by police.
Another fight, described by police as “massive” broke out shortly after 9 p.m. outside the Chicago Red Line station, 800 North State Street. CTA workers at the Chicago station dialed 911 and reported 20 to 30 teen males “jumping turnstiles and beating on the kiosk.”
Tactical units from the neighboring 1st (Central) Police District were brought in to assist with the mayhem.
By 10 p.m., police and CTA transit officers reported that the most of the crowd, again estimated at 300 or 400 teens, had departed the downtown area via the Red Line.
Police this morning said a 16-year-old male was arrested after he threw an unknown substance in a police officer’s face near State and Chicago around 9:10 p.m. The teen was charged with felony aggravated battery of a police officer.
Another man involved in the ballyhoo was arrested for theft, according to a police department source. The Chicago Police Department Office of News Affairs was unable to immediately locate details of the theft case.