The Chicago Police Department released video Sunday of clashes between police and protesters in a march against police brutality Saturday in the Loop that started peacefully but turned violent.
According to police, the video shows “the initial incident that sparked yesterday’s violence and arrests, as well as the aggravated battery against a CPD officer with a skateboard.”
Police Superintendent David Brown said the peaceful protest that began Saturday in Millennium Park had been hijacked by agitators.
The police video depicts marchers at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. Police say it shows several escalating incidents, including: protesters donning ponchos to better identify themselves in the group; opening umbrellas to conceal their actions from police; moving toward the police with locked arms; the movement of one individual lunging into the police line; and a police officer struck by an individual swinging a skateboard.
Brown said police responded appropriately to get the situation under control.
Twenty-four people were arrested, including four on felony charges, and 17 officers were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Brown said.
Earlier on Saturday, protesters against police brutality were turned away by a line of police officers on the South Side as they tried to make their way to the Dan Ryan Expressway to flood it with people and shut it down. No arrests were made in connection with that demonstration, Brown said.
While police were releasing their version of events, activists offered their own takes on what happened later in the Loop.
“Before you try to spin the narrative, here’s a video that shows how you started the altercations. You attacked peaceful protesters, beat us with batons, and pepper sprayed us for no good reason. You are a disgrace,” tweeted activist Berto Aguayo of #IncreaseThePeace, an organization that develops young leaders and promotes peace through leadership development, community organizing, and advocating for solutions that tackle the root causes of violence.
“We demand an apology from the Chicago Police Department and the Mayor’s Office for violating our rights to peacefully assemble and for their abhorrent attacks on peaceful protestors,” Aguayo said in a statement.
A call to Aguayo was not immediately returned.
Another activist, Ja’Mal Green, released a statement Sunday calling for Brown’s resignation after he said videos surfaced of police hitting protesters.
Green said activists also want Mayor Lori Lightfoot to “appoint someone that understands the city and the landscape of protests.”
Brown, the former chief of the Dallas police, was sworn in as Chicago’s top cop on April 22 and recently marked his first 100 days on the job.
Annemarie Mannion is a freelance contributor to WTTW News.