Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Saturday imposed a curfew on Chicago residents from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. following downtown protests sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
Lightfoot’s action appears to be the first curfew imposed on Chicago residents since 1968, when former Mayor Richard J. Daley imposed curfews in the wake of the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the unrest outside of the Democratic National Convention.
The curfew will remain in place indefinitely, Lightfoot said.
However, she said she was not considering asking Gov. J.B. Pritzker to mobilize the National Guard to assist the Chicago Police Department.
Lightfoot called the events of Saturday afternoon and evening “a tragedy.”
Several Downtown businesses, including Macy’s, Niketown and Neiman Marcus, were broken into, according to police sources.
“What started out as a peaceful protest has now evolved into criminal conduct,” said Lightfoot, who said she shared the outrage over Floyd’s death. Floyd died after being handcuffed after pleading with officers that he could not breathe.
But Lightfoot said some of those who headed downtown on Saturday to join a protest of Floyd’s death came “armed for all-out battle.”
Protesters carried bowling balls, baseball bats, hammers and shovels, Lightfoot said. Others threw plastic bottles filled with urine at officers, she said.
At least one Molotov cocktail and excrement were thrown at officers, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said.
One officer suffered broken bones and others suffered less serious injuries, Brown said.
Lightfoot directly addressed those who she said targeted officers.
“I’m here to call you out for your recklessness and for your obscene disrespect to the righteous cause that you are trying to hijack,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot thanked police officers for risking injury and illness.
"I will not let criminals take over our city and shame the majority of us," Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot gave Chicagoans approximately 35 minutes to get off Chicago’s streets after announcing the curfew, which she said was “ample time.”
Lightfoot said she instructed Chicago police officers to “aggressively enforce” the curfew and arrest those who violate the rules.
“We are not going to allow this situation to get out of hand,” Lightfoot said.
Essential workers are exempt from the limit, Lightfoot said.
Curfews were also put in place in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis and Denver.