City hopes to quell ‘large groups’ by restricting teens’ access to Millennium Park; effectiveness questioned

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Supt. David Brown on Sunday announced that people under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult if they want to be in Millennium Park after 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

The move follows the fatal shooting of Seandell Holliday, 16, during a large group incident near The Bean on Saturday evening. A second shooting left two men injured hours later as the group lingered in the Loop.

At a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Brown said that police arrested a 17-year-old in connection with Holliday’s death. Charges are pending, Brown said, adding, “but we have a lot of work to do.”

Online speculation that Holliday may have accidentally shot himself when he jumped on another man’s back was put to rest when the Cook County Medical Examiner ruled Holliday’s death to be a homicide on Sunday afternoon.

Chicago police handle an incident near Crown Fountain during a large group incident at Millennium Park on May 14, 2022. | Provided

Brown said 26 juveniles and five adults were arrested during Saturday’s incident. Police recovered eight guns, including a “ghost gun” carried by a 16-year-old, he added.

“Gun violence has somehow become the commonplace solution to petty grievances and conflicts,” he continued.

In a written press release, Lightfoot said the city’s restrictions at Millennium Park would be “strictly enforced and violations will be dealt with swiftly.”

She said Chicago Public Schools and other school systems will “fully explain this new policy to students.”

Brown dodged questions about how the city would prevent similar groups, which are usually organized on social media, from simply forming somewhere else or in the same place at an earlier time.

Just three days before the Millennium Park shooting, a smaller and less violent group popped up on the streets of Old Town after organizers staged a “takeover” of North Avenue Beach.

The city has been dealing with large group formations since at least 2012, although the incidents have increased in size and frequency since 2018. Records maintained by CWBChicago show the groups largely gathered on the Magnificent Mile and Water Tower Place until 2019. That’s when the famed mall began requiring juveniles to be accompanied by adults at night.

After that, the groups gradually transitioned to the Loop and Millennium Park, our records show. Other than looting, there has not been a “large group” incident on the Mag Mile since June 2019. There have been eleven incidents in Millennium Park and the Loop since then.

Our exclusive and original reporting is 100% reader-funded. Please contribute to our operating fund or purchase a subscription today.

About CWBChicago 6765 Articles
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