CHICAGO - Chicago police officers who were monitoring a protest Monday night were prepared for the potential of violence, wearing full protective gear after a peaceful rally on Friday ended in clashes between demonstrators and officers.
Chicago police say it was not the peaceful marchers last week that became hostile, but a group of organized demonstrators with an attack plan.
On Monday, Chicago police released more video from Friday night's clash. Now, the top cop says they must assume all protests could also turn violent and he has ordered his officers to wear their protective gear.
We saw that directive in action tonight, again at the foot of the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park.
Another smaller group of peaceful protesters gathered, calling for the statue to be removed and officers responded wearing helmets. Police say the group that incited violence Friday night was organized and on a mission.
CPD says a group of agitators brought weapons, including frozen water bottles, explosive devices and even sharpened PVC used to hold up a banner.
The officers were trying to prevent the demonstrators from toppling the Columbus statue in Grant Park when one officer had an explosive device blow up near his face, damaging his eye socket. He also suffered a broken kneecap.
Forty-nine officers in total were injured and 18 had to go to the hospital. Twelve demonstrators were arrested.
“We will have to change the way we deploy our resources…we cannot ignore and look away and have our officers in harm’s way,” Police Supt. David Brown said.
Chicago police pointed to a video clip where you see a demonstrator empty a container of objects on the ground. CPD says that was done so other protesters could pick up the objects and use them as projectiles toward officers.
The superintendent says they had to divert resources to deal with the mob action, which of course reduced resources in other parts of the city.
This past weekend, 63 people were shot and 12 were killed.