CHICAGO (Ben Caxton) — Dozens were arrested and several were hurt including 17 police officers as protesters clashed with police Saturday in the Loop.
On Sunday morning, CPD tweeted a video of the clash with protesters and said “The following video footage shows the initial incident that sparked yesterday’s violence and arrests, as well as the aggravated battery against a CPD officer with a skateboard. More video will be released throughout the day as it is received.”
In later tweets, police announced that, “Jeremey Johnson, 25, has been charged with felony aggravated battery to a peace officer after repeatedly striking a #ChicagoPolice officer in the head with a skateboard at yesterday’s downtown protest.”
“The officer, who was wearing a protective helmet, sustained minor injuries and was treated at a local hospital. This is just one example of how our #ChicagoPolice officers continually risk their own safety to protect this city and its residents,” police said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised city police Sunday for “fairly quickly” settling weekend protests that devolved into violent skirmishes while activists and other elected officials blasted police for unnecessarily aggressive tactics.
The day of demonstrations against police brutality started peacefully Saturday with a march around noon. Later, a separate demonstration near downtown resulted in two dozen arrests, 17 injured officers and at least two injured protesters. None of the injuries were believed to be life threatening.
Lightfoot told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that agitators “have embedded themselves in these seemingly peaceful protests and come for a fight” though the clashes were “over very fairly quickly because our police department is resolved to make sure that we protect peaceful protests.”
Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown said that some in the group used black umbrellas to make it harder for police to see them, pushed officers and assaulted them.
At the same time, activist groups and some elected officials called out police for using aggressive tactics, including spraying the crowd with a chemical irritant and striking protesters with batons.
“The march was peaceful until CPD and other law enforcement agencies began an all-out assault on protesters,” said a Sunday statement from youth activist group Increase The Peace.
Youth-led organizers in support of #AbolishICE and #Defund CPS were involved in Saturday’s protest.
After the violent clash with police, the organizers have demanded an apology from for Chicago Police Department and Lightfoot’s office “for violating our rights to peacefully assemble and for their abhorrent attacks on peaceful protestors.”
The group said Chicago police instigated the violence, and claimed undercover officers were embedded with protesters.
They said demonstrators did not change their appearances, but were prepared for rain and possible pepper spray.
Several Chicago Democrats, including state Sen. Robert Peters, state Rep. Lakesia Collins and Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez, questioned using department money on such a response to protesters in a city that has had a lower homicide case clearance rate than other big cities.