CHICAGO — Police reported fights but no arrests as about 150 people descended on downtown Chicago for the first “large group” incident of the year Wednesday evening.
Officers at the scene estimated that between 100 and 150 people, mostly teens and young adults, were gathered in the area when an altercation involving several dozen people broke out around 9:25 p.m. at Cloud Gate, the sculpture popularly known as “The Bean.”
Chicago police mobilized bike units and extra resources to clear the park. Cops reported occasional dust-ups as the group approached nearby CTA stations, but no arrests were reported. EMS treated a 16-year-old girl who hit her head, but no other significant injuries were reported.
CPD supervisors returned officers to their usual shift assignments just before 11 p.m.
The city has struggled to find solutions to what officials euphemistically refer to as “large groups” that gather every year in the downtown area, frequently in response to social media posts.
After a gunman fatally shot 16-year-old Seandell Holliday at The Bean during a “large group” incident last May, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the installation of security checkpoints at Millennium Park and required juveniles to be accompanied by an adult after certain hours.
CWBChicago has recorded 32 group incidents since 2018, with the most recent being September 15, 16, and 17, when the Loop was flooded with revelers for Mexican Independence Day. Police announced 30 arrests related to that incident.
Wednesday’s events were pretty much on schedule. Our records show that the first “large group” incident occurs right around this time each year: on May 5, 2018, with two arrests; on April 6, 2019, with 21 arrests; on April 27, 2021, with no arrests; and on April 23, 2022, with 13 arrests and nine curfew violations.
No large groups were recorded in 2020 until widespread looting and demonstrations swept the city from May 29 to June 2 in response to the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.