CHICAGO — A large group takeover resulted in at least two arrests as Chicago police corralled the crowd near the Belmont CTA station in Lakeview on Monday night into Tuesday morning.
Belmont Avenue was shut down for several hours as people danced on cars and blocked the road. At one point, a Chicago police supervisor estimated that 300 people were in the crowd.
The takeover is a repeat performance of a similar incident in the same location on the day after last year’s Chicago Pride Parade.
Cops seemed to be expecting the gathering as Town Hall (19th) District supervisors assigned extra units to keep an eye on the area. But the situation quickly escalated, and other city departments seemed unwilling or unable to help police manage the situation.
An officer initially reported 30 or 40 people “singing and dancing in the street” around 8:40 p.m. The crowd quickly grew as revelers arrived on the CTA and in vehicles.
A CPD supervisor radioed a request for the CTA to bypass the Belmont station shortly after 9 p.m. to prevent more people from joining the party.
By 9:15, an officer said about 100 people were in the street under the L tracks. About 15 minutes later, a police dispatcher reported that the CTA refused to bypass the Belmont station.
Another police request was denied around 9:45 p.m. when a supervisor requested that the Department of Streets and Sanitation deliver barricades to keep people out of the street.
Streets and San denied the request, saying barricades needed to be “special ordered” through a police commander to a street “commissioner or whoever,” a dispatcher reported.
Video of the gathering appeared on Snapchat:
More videos appeared on the Citizen app:
Additional police units from surrounding districts were brought to the scene as the crowd swelled to 300 people around 10 p.m. Surveillance camera operators radioed that the group was fueled by the CTA, which delivered more partiers with every train.
“We need all the help we can get,” a police supervisor radioed around 10:18 p.m.
Belmont Avenue remained closed until about 3 a.m.
The group popped up one night after the Chicago Pride Parade, much like a similar gathering formed on the night after last year’s parade.
On June 28, 2022, an estimated 200 to 300 people descended on the Belmont CTA station, then overtook the street for several hours, dancing on a squad car and a CTA bus to pass the time. Two people were arrested last year.
Chicago police said 25 people were arrested during Sunday’s Pride Parade and the neighborhood “after party.”