The Chicago Police Department unexpectedly reversed course on Friday afternoon, announcing that certain officers who haven’t had a day off since at least June 14 will now receive one. Even more unexpectedly, the agency decided to offer the day off on Sunday, the day of the massive Chicago Pride Parade.
It’s surprising because Lakeview Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) publicly pleaded with the police department to increase resources for the parade after officers were overwhelmed by a large street brawl in Boystown early Monday.
And protests are expected across the country this weekend after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
CPD First Dep. Supt. Eric Carter informed officers Friday that the department is reinstating days off for some groups of officers who had been ordered to work morning, evening, or late night shifts Sunday.
The affected officers are normally assigned to detective divisions or districts on the Northwest and Far South sides.
Carter’s email came two days after Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters that the city’s cops were getting plenty of time off—and one day after CWBChicago published emails from the office of CPD Supt. David Brown that showed he had canceled most regular days off from June 14 to July 5.
According to Carter, the reinstated time off is “an effort to reduce the number of consecutive days worked.”
While the affected officers would not ordinarily be assigned to work the area of Sunday’s Pride Parade, they would have been available to quell the sometimes violent problems that erupt in Boystown hours after the parade ends.
Early Monday morning, cops in the Lakeview-based Town Hall (19th) Police District were overwhelmed by a large street fight involving dozens of people following last weekend’s Pride Fest. Two cops were injured during the melee, and officers declared two “10-1” police emergencies during the incident, which dragged on for more than 20 minutes before enough CPD resources were on-hand to bring it under control.
And that happened on a night when all Chicago cops had their days off canceled.
Monday’s brawl raised red flags for Tunney, who told Brown in a letter Tuesday that he was “very troubled” by the incident and “deeply concerned that the current staffing plans for the Pride Parade as outlined to me are insufficient for the size of the crowds the City realistically should be anticipating.”
Historically, Chicago’s Pride Parades have resulted in relatively few arrests during the actual march. However, crowds that form in the neighborhood hours after the parade have often turned violent and disruptive. The late-night problems are a known challenge for the parade, yet CPD seems to be caught off-guard every year.
Even though organizers canceled last year’s parade due to COVID, large crowds still gathered in Boystown on the night it would have been held. Fights broke out, shots were fired, and people were overcome by pepper spray. Four people walked into local hospitals with injuries, and several ambulances were brought to Halsted Street to help injured revelers.