A horde of revelers and cars bearing Mexican flags and colors took Downtown Friday into the early Saturday hours on Mexico’s Independence Day.
Among thousands of people playing, two men were shot and others were robbed and kidnapped in cars in the city center.
What’s more, the caravans have created a ‘total traffic jam’ in some places, causing fear for some and delays in getting to work in others, said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. It was planned to use “sticks” or tire deflating devices for the rest of the weekend.
Lightfoot and other officials, including Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, discussed the chaos at an afternoon press conference at Harrison Park Field House, 1824 S Wood St., next to the National Museum of Mexican Art.
Last night our cultural pride was visible, said Lightfoot. “Chicago is home to one of the largest Mexican communities in the United States and is proud of it.”
But unfortunately some were involved in “dangerous and reckless behavior,” said Lightfoot, adding that the behavior had “decreased”, an event.
Lightfood said she was here to encourage “Everyone in our town to use common sense during Mexico’s Independence Day celebrations.”
Caravans and street growls made it difficult for some to get to work. “Some are just scared to go near the celebration,” said Lightfoot.
Brown, who spoke of the “plan” for tonight, said we would “make adjustments” based on incidents that took place on Friday night.
Brown, who insisted on a safe celebration, said this should be a time for everyone to have a “great time”.
Another police officer commented on the road closures by the end of the weekend to avoid a “total traffic jam” in the city, especially in the Central District. “Stop the sticks,” tire deflectors were to be used if the caravans were a problem again, he said.
We are not going to be a “complete shutdown” of downtown, but they will appear sporadically, he said.
Car trailers last night created a threat to public safety, as well as “att*cks on officers” and an att*ck in which someone threw a frozen bottle of water in the face of an officer who had to be hospitalized, Brown said. Some have been arrested.
A 32-year-old man was involved in a fight with another man on Block 100 South Wacker Drive around 1:08 on Saturday when a person in a red car fired shots and hit him in the back, police said. The man was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in good condition.
In Block 0-100 on East Wacker Drive around 1:10 a 27-year-old man was walking down the sidewalk when a group of people started beating him and one att*cker shot him in the head, police said.
This man was also taken to Northwestern Hospital in good condition.
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Police reported that the car was hijacked and robbed during an ongoing ceremony around 3:15 a.m. when a group of five people were in a detained car at Block 1400 South DuSable Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
According to the police, an armed man approached them and demanded that they get out of the car. The thief took a few necklaces from two of the group and then took the car in which they were driving, a 2011 Nissan Rogue with an Illinois license plate, DD47882. No one was physically injured.
On Friday, the city’s Office of Crisis Management and Communications (OEMC) issued a warning of increasing traffic in the city center due to holidays.
“Expect increased traffic in the downtown area and the Michigan Ave / DuSable LSD area this weekend due to Mexico’s Independence Day celebrations. Drive responsibly, said the announcement.
On Friday night, there were caravans of people celebrating the holidays on DuSable Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive, headed west into the city.
Around 9:00 p.m. you could hear the OEMCs talking on the radio to the police. One of the officers asked if the city garbage truck was blocking the ramps into the city. After one officer replied yes, the first officer said, “Well, it doesn’t work.”
Police have not reported the arrests since Saturday afternoon.
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