At least 9 arrested in Loop, more in Boystown during weekend street take-overs

Chicago police on Monday refused to say how many people were arrested during an unauthorized Fourth of July celebration in the Loop this weekend. Instead, CPD told our team to submit a Freedom of Information Act request if we wanted to report those statistics for you. It’s a typical maneuver for any public entity that doesn’t want bad news to get out.

That’s OK. We know enough to tell you about what happened downtown without CPD’s help. 

We also have plenty to share about what happened in Boystown early today when Halsted Street was again closed to accommodate a large crowd that overtook traffic lanes in an hours-long party that sparked fights and resulted in at least two arrests and four EMS runs.

Boystown crowd

The Boystown party, which was organized via social media, began around 11:30 p.m. Sunday — more than 30 minutes after the city requires bars to stop serving alcohol under COVID-19 restrictions.

Fights broke out on side streets all along Halsted Street, according to residents.

Videos posted to social media show a sizable crowd taking over the intersection of Halsted and Roscoe streets. Police closed the road to traffic shortly after midnight, and it remained mostly inaccessible to vehicles until around 3:30 a.m. Monday.

One police officer was pepper-sprayed by a member of the crowd. At least three other ambulances responded to people who were injured in a series of fights.

A video posted to Snapchat shows two women fist-fighting on the 3300 block of North Halsted Street. Another Snapchat clip captured glimpses of Chicago police breaking up another fight on the steps of Roscoe’s Tavern, 3356 North Halsted.

Police arrested two people during the Boystown celebration.

Loop crowds

There were no official Fourth of July firework displays to draw people downtown this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But that didn’t stop people from coming. Police arrested at least nine people — and likely many more — as partiers celebrated in the Loop on Saturday evening and early Sunday.

Police supervisors reported “very dense” and “dangerous” crowds throwing large fireworks near Millennium Park around 8:15 Saturday. The 1st District police commander even told officers to put on any type of eyeglasses or sunglasses to minimize the chance of being blinded by flying pyrotechnics.

The situation continued to escalate, and people in the crowd began throwing fireworks and bottles directly at police officers, prompting at least two arrests. 

By 9:15 p.m., a police supervisor estimated that 1,000 people were running into traffic around Millennium Park. The police department redeployed its saturation teams and many detectives to back-up officers as the situation escalated, according to a CPD source.

The Walgreens store at State and Randolph was overrun by a large group of partiers who fought in the aisles and stole merchandise, according to an employee. Another person reportedly used a shovel to break out one of the display windows at Macy’s State Street.

Shortly before 10 p.m., police ordered CTA trains to only run southbound from the Loop. Anyone who wanted to go north had to hike to the Clark-Division station. The maneuver was an attempt to keep the rowdy crowd from spreading into the River North neighborhood and Magnificent Mile, according to a source.

The CTA tactic was only partly successful. Around 11 p.m., officers on patrol in Streeterville reported that a group of 15 juveniles threw fireworks and a knife at their patrol car. But police did not pursue the group, and no arrests were made in connection with the incident.

Police seized at least one gun during the Loop street party. That happened near Jackson and State shortly after midnight Sunday and resulted in an arrest. Other arrests were made for jumping on and damaging police vehicles as well as battery.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com