Hours after a night of social media-fueled looting ravaged the Magnificent Mile and other retail corridors on August 10, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Supt. David Brown spoke with the media.
“Criminals took to the streets with confidence that there’ll be no consequences for their actions,” Brown said, laying blame at the feet of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Lightfoot echoed Brown’s theme, which focused on alleged weak prosecution of looters and rioters during another crime wave in late May and early June.
“We can’t continue to allow this to happen,” Lightfoot said. “for people to believe that there is no accountability through our criminal justice system…We need the prosecution and we need the courts to step up and do their part.”
Less than 24 hours later, attorney’s from the city’s own law department dropped charges against a man who was arrested inside a looted Foot Locker on May 31.
Since then, city attorneys — who report to Lightfoot, not to Foxx — have dropped charges against scores of people that police arrested during riots and looting between May 30 and June 1, according to court records.
While none of the defendants faced jail time for the city charges, some of them were caught red-handed with looted merchandise or inside stores that were being pillaged, according to court records.
One man who managed to get arrested three times on uprising-related charges in May and June was arrested again along the Mag Mile during the August 10 looting. City lawyers dropped one of his earlier cases last week.
Despite Brown’s and Lightfoot’s calls for vigorous prosecution of looting and riot offenders, city attorneys have tossed uprising-related charges for at least 50 defendants since the August looting outbreak, according to court records reviewed by CWBChicago.
But the city doesn’t want to talk about it.
Reached for information about the dismissals and internal policies, a city spokesperson said, “the Law Department does not comment on its prosecutorial decisions.”
Here are the details of a few cases that the city has chosen not to prosecute since Lightfoot and Brown demanded that Foxx hold people responsible. CWBChicago is identifying the defendants by initials because their charges have been dismissed.
On May 31, during the height of this spring’s looting activity, police arrested 51-year-old ME after they saw him inside a Foot Locker store that was being ransacked on the 3900 block of West Madison, according to police records. He was charged with disorderly conduct and released.
Then, on August 11, the morning after Brown and Lightfoot suggested that a lack of prosecution in the May-June uprising contributed to the latest round of looting, city law department attorneys dropped his charges in open court.
JC, a 25-year-old who has been charged with shoplifting 14 times since June 2018, was arrested three times during the May-June uprising and then got arrested again during the August 10 Mag Mile looting, according to court records.
On May 30, he was in a “violent” group of more than 50 people who obstructed traffic and threw objects at police in River North, according to allegations made in court records. He was arrested, charged with disorderly conduct, and released.
Two days later, police who were posted to prevent looting at a South Side strip mall arrested him again. He was released after being charged with disobeying a lawful order to disperse.
On June 3, he was scooped up in a mass arrest on the 300 block of East 47th. He was hit with another disorderly conduct charge and released.
Then, around 8:47 a.m. on August 10, a witness told police on the Mag Mile that JC had just run out of the Bloomingdale’s store with a shopping bag full of merchandise. Police who caught up with JC found him carrying a Bloomingdale’s shopping bag that contained eight sealed packages of luxury bed linen, according to an arrest report. He was charged with disorderly conduct again, but not with looting.
Last week, city attorneys dropped the June 3 charge against JC. The other cases have upcoming court dates.
As a side note, JC has been arrested two more times for shoplifting since the August 10 looting — both times at Water Tower Place.
On June 1, police arrested PG because she refused to disperse from a large group on the 700 block of East 75th, according to CPD records. She was charged with disorderly conduct and released.
Cops arrested the 30-year-old woman again early on August 10. Police said they saw her running from the Best Buy store, 555 West Roosevelt, as it was being looted. She was charged with disorderly conduct again.
On August 26, city attorneys dropped the June 1 charges.