CICERO, Ill. - Two people were killed Monday during unrest in the Chicago suburb of Cicero as protests continued over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, according a town official.
Spokesman Ray Hanania said in addition to the deaths, 60 people were arrested during the unrest in the town of about 84,000 located west of Chicago, where the Illinois State Police and Cook County Sheriff’s Office were called in to help local police as people broke into a liquor store and other businesses and stole items. Hanania didn’t provide additional information about those killed or the circumstances of their deaths.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier Monday activated 250 additional Illinois National Guard soldiers, for a total of 625, saying they were needed to help local law enforcement and protect the rights of peaceful protesters. He also signed a disaster proclamation for nine counties including the Chicago area and central Illinois to facilitate state resources.
“We cannot allow those who have taken advantage of this moment to loot and smash to also steal the voices of those peacefully expressing a need for real, meaningful change,” the Democrat said.
Pritzker’s action came as demonstrations resumed in Chicago, where hundreds gathered on the city’s North Side to protest Floyd’s killing. The peaceful protesters gathered at an intersection in the city’s Uptown neighborhood before marching south toward the central business district, scenes of clashes with police and looting over the weekend. Police headed the marchers off after about a mile and directed them back north.
For a second consecutive day, Chicago Transit Authority train and bus service was suspended beginning at 9:30 p.m. until 6 a.m., officials say for the safety of riders and employees.
In Springfield, about 1,000 people began their protest at the state Capitol and marched peacefully around the central business business district before returning to the Capitol and dispersed. Protesters also marched in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. After a peaceful afternoon gathering, protesters returned to the downtown later Monday, defying a 9 p.m. curfew put in place by the city’s mayor and smashing windows on some businesses.
Earlier Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot defended her decision to put tight restrictions on downtown, saying vandalism and violence following protests over Floyd’s death “spread like a wildfire” to city neighborhoods late Sunday. Several aldermen blamed the first-term mayor for not doing enough to protect neighborhood businesses.
But Lightfoot said more officers were deployed to neighborhoods and additional resources would be forthcoming, including use of sanitation trucks to close roads.
The number of 911 calls soared to 65,000 over a 24-hour period ending at midnight, which is 50,000 more than usual, Lightfoot said. Police arrested about 700 people Sunday mostly on the South and West sides, according police.
“We didn’t stand by and let the South and West sides burn,” Lightfoot said. “There is no way, no way, that we would ever let any neighborhood receive more resources and protection than any others, ever.”
The citywide chaos came after peaceful downtown protests Saturday devolved into vandalism and violence. Lightfoot, who’d already ordered a 9 p.m. curfew, suspended public transportation and limited downtown access to people who work or live there.
Officials on Monday also announced the temporary closure of community-based COVID-19 testing sites to protect staff and the public.