After CTA-fueled crowd descends on Lakeview, some see a failure of top-down command, CTA sees a ‘close working relationship’

CHICAGO — City officials circled the wagons Tuesday after hundreds of people descended on Lakeview the night before, closing Belmont Avenue for hours after the CTA rejected Chicago police requests to have trains bypass the nearby L station until the situation was under control.

An officer involved in the police response called the city’s actions a “typical top-down command failure.”

Chicago police commanders anticipated a crowd might form on Monday, the day after the Pride Parade, because the same thing happened last year. Extra CPD resources were assigned to the area near the Belmont CTA station, 945 West Belmont, as a precaution.

But when those units noticed trouble brewing, the CTA refused to cut off the supply of partiers by temporarily bypassing the station.

“Ya got [a sergeant] saying, ‘Here’s what we need,’ and ya got a guy in a room somewhere saying, ‘Ah, f*** that guy. We know better,'” the officer said Tuesday.

In this collection of audio snippets from CPD radio transmissions between 9:08 p.m. and 9:33 p.m. Monday, a CPD sergeant asks a dispatcher to have the station bypassed at 9:08 p.m. After some back-and-forth, the sergeant got CTA’s answer 25 minutes later: No.

(For brevity, traffic unrelated to the CTA request is replaced with a tone in this file. The time elapsed between the first and the last transmissions is 25 minutes.)

Source: Broadcastify

CWBChicago first reported the CTA’s refusal yesterday morning.

Freshman Ald. Bennet Lawson (44th) called the takeover, which lasted until 3 a.m. Tuesday, “absolutely unacceptable.”

In an email to his constituents, Lawson thanked the police department and said he would meet with the Town Hall (19th) District leadership to “identify ways we can prevent [group disruptions] from occurring moving forward.”

Speaking with ABC7 later, he mentioned the CTA issue.

“I have to talk to the CTA. They need to be a partner in our success, and in our safety, and they are. But understanding people need to move through the city, but when it’s appropriate to close the Belmont station, we should be able to do that,” Lawson said.

Dominic Rescigno, who performed at the Annoyance Theatre, 851 West Belmont, on Monday evening, is looking at a $15,000 auto repair bill.

“I could see that people were jumping on cars. I couldn’t see my car, but I knew,” he told NBC Chicago. “This morning, we walked down at 6:30 a.m., and it was totally destroyed.”

He says he and his partner are on the hook for repair bills because their insurance company said, “‘you don’t have the package that covers mob insurance,’ … I thought (it was a joke). I didn’t realize I needed to check the ‘mob’ box.”

CPD and CTA both released written statements Tuesday, respectively claiming that they “work closely with our City partners” and to having “a very close working relationship” with other agencies.

CTA said it has “protocols in place to address possible station closures, which are designed to ensure a balance between public safety and providing service to CTA customers.”

Police arrested two people during Monday’s “mob,” one adult and a juvenile. That followed a CPD estimate of 25 arrests during Sunday’s Pride Parade and its after-party.

Two of Sunday’s arrestees appeared for felony bond hearings on Tuesday afternoon.

Jhasalin Burkhalter, 25, was held in lieu of a $1,000 bail deposit on allegations that she punched a Chicago police officer in the face as the cop tried to clear people out of the street near Belmont and Sheffield around 8:21 p.m. Sunday.

Shawna Shaw, 24, is also charged with aggravated battery of a police officer. Prosecutors said she “became verbally abusive” toward cops arresting someone a few steps from where Burkhalter was taken into custody.

Shaw pushed an officer in the chest and punched them twice in the face, Assistant State’s Attorney Victor Aberdeen said during her bail hearing.

Judge William Fahy also held her in lieu of a $1,000 bail deposit.

On Tuesday evening, a Lakeview resident shared home surveillance video of the post-Pride party rolling down his street around 2:30 a.m. Monday. Let’s hope those vehicle owners checked the “mob” box: