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American Graffiti Sequel in Chicago's Loop. Kids having run.

OMG. Brandon's right. Why "demonize" some kids who are just having a little fun? Ok, a few people got shot, and a bunch of stuff got smashed, a few people got beaten up. No big thang. Plus the Chicago Police are apparently fired up to have a new Mayor. It's all good.

Check out the link for video of these gifted youngsters. I love Chicago.

Chicago police investigating officers’ response to mob attack in Loop after witness says police declined to help

By Jake Sheridan, Chicago Tribune

Apr 20, 2023 at 8:54 pm

Large groups of youths gather in downtown Chicago, April 15, 2023. Two teens were shot in the area during the evening. (Network Video Productions)

The Chicago Police Department launched an investigation into how officers responded to violence that broke out late Saturday during a large gathering of young people in the city’s downtown tourism district.

The investigation comes after a viral video showed a mob attacking a couple as they exited a Loop store and it follows allegations of police inaction.

As the attack unfolded, police failed to respond to calls for help and even drove past, said Lenora Dennis, who witnessed the beating and helped the couple get to safety.

“It makes me feel scared. It terrifies me that people are either asleep at the wheel or that they’re willfully blind,” Dennis told the Tribune on Wednesday.

The attack Dennis witnessed was one of the violent outbursts that emerged as hundreds of teens and young adults met up downtown. People blocked traffic, jumped onto a CTA bus and attacked passersby during the mayhem, and two teen boys were shot as they stood in the crowd.

The chaos has since sparked national coverage, and video of the attack Dennis saw, first published by the CWB Chicago website, garnered national attention with over 14 millions views on Twitter alone.

But what video didn’t capture, Dennis said, was repeated inaction from nearby police officers as the 20-year-old woman and 22-year-old man from out of state were punched and kicked by over a dozen people.

Dennis had just dropped off her husband at a store and headed to Macy’s to try on glasses, she said. The 45-year-old shopped for an hour, but as she came out of the store, “it was just a mob of people,” she said.

When that mob passed the young couple, a beating suddenly started with no forewarning, she said.

Dennis heard the young woman scream. She saw the young man get stomped on, kicked and punched.

“It just turned into a total chaotic melee,” Dennis said.

The mayhem flooded into the street. The couple’s phones were stolen. Their shoes were taken too. The beating lasted over 10 minutes, far longer than what was seen in the short clip that went viral, Dennis said.

As the attack dragged on, police cars passed. Dennis and others called 911 to no avail. As the fifth police car passed, Dennis stopped in front of the cruiser and put her hands up, motioning that she needed the officers’ help, she said.

“And the police officer locked eyes with me, cut a pass right around me, and kept going,” Dennis said.

That’s when she decided to directly intervene. The Englewood resident walked over to the crowd, which she said consisted of around 80 teens, and yelled at them. After they exchanged words with her, they eventually ran off, she said.

Dennis then told the couple that they needed to leave the area as soon as possible, but several boys from the mob returned and again started hitting the 22-year-old man, who Dennis said is named DJ.

She pushed DJ into the nearby Macy’s for cover. Inside the store, both of the young people were barefoot, and the young man seemed concussed, Dennis said. They waited inside, then bolted toward Dennis’ car. She worried the mob would attack as she ran.

The group drove to the 1st District police station on the Near South Side. When they got there, the desk sergeant told Dennis the attack happened because Chicagoans elected Brandon Johnson as mayor. Johnson has not begun his term in office yet.

The comment stuck out to Dennis as strange. It seemed, she said, like the officer didn’t love the city and refused to respectfully accept the result of the election. Detectives later patiently took down a police report from the couple and called an ambulance to take the injured young man to the hospital, Dennis added.

The whole police interaction — and noninteraction — disheartened this Chicago native.

The police had been unprepared after similar group gatherings at a South Side beach the night before amid the warm weather, Dennis noted. Their response had been a “disaster.”

Dennis, who later brought shoes to the couple in the hospital, said she fears downtown might not serve as an escape for Chicagoans from neighborhoods that see summertime spikes in violence, if the weekend was any precursor.

Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward, told the Tribune earlier in the week that the police response to the downtown chaos was “inadequate,” especially after similar gatherings in the days before had caused problems. The police were understaffed and lacked clear leadership, he said. The department’s strategy was to contain and not directly confront the crowd for much of the night, Hopkins said.

Police sources told the Tribune that there were no officers downtown who held a rank above lieutenant for much of the night, which prohibited the officers who were present from requesting more officers to assist.

The department has since pledged to put forward additional resources, according to the president of the city’s tourism office. Apparently, similar gatherings of young people are being planned for this Saturday at Millennium Park and North Riverside Park Mall, according to Hopkins and police.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Mayor-elect Johnson have weighed in on the violence, calling for stronger authority from parents and more opportunities for kids.

To Dennis, it seems that getting parents to pay more attention to their kids’ social media is part of the solution. But she said she also wants to see people, politicians and police put their “egos,” “preconceived notions,” “campaign slogans” and “puffed-up rhetoric” to the side.

“And understand that we have to come up with some real-time solutions,” she said. “We need to do real investigative thinking into what these kids need.”

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