UPDATED 06/08/11 5:04 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The City Council has approved Garry McCarthy as the new police superintendent, and he already has a heater case on his desk.
As CBS 2’s Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, after McCarthy’s confirmation hearing, aldermen were talking about the rash of violence perpetrated by teen mobs in the busy and fashionable area just north of downtown.
Mob attacks are growing rampant, particularly in Streeterville, River North and the Gold Coast. In the latest incident Tuesday evening, two men were injured when they were attacked and beaten by as many as 20 teens at Chicago and Wabash avenues.
“They’ve got to get to the bottom of it and stop it, because downtown is the Chicago crown jewel for tourism and for everyone to come down, and (McCarthy) is just as concerned as I am and everyone in the city, this has to be stopped – soon,” said Ald. Ray Suarez (31st). “I think he’s aware of it. We talked off record, of course. I think he knows what he’s got to do.”
Ald. Brendan Reilly, who represents the area where the attacks took place, said he was still looking for answers.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with [McCarthy’s] command team,” Reilly said. “We’re gonna get that plan of attack and when we do it’ll be shared broadly.”
McCarthy, in a joint news conference with Mayor Emanuel afterward, was asked what he thought motivated young people to congregate and attack others.
“How this gets into somebody’s head to do something like this is just beyond me but i don’t know what they’re thinking frankly, but this is criminal behavior and we’re gonna clamp down on that hard,” he said.
McCarthy has said he needs help from the community and from parents
Some alderman are concerned about good kids getting profiled because they are black. The suspects in the attacks have all been African American. McCarthy said that wouldn’t happen.
“We will not in any way, shape or form do racial profiling,” he said. “It’s about behavior. It’s not about the way somebody looks. It’s their behavior.”
In the Tuesday evening incident, one of the victims had reportedly pulled out his wallet to buy a single cigarette from a teen in the mob, when another teen swiped the victim’s wallet and the mob began to run.
It was after the victims had caught up with the group that the mob knocked the pair to the ground and began to beat them.
In the end, the majority of the suspects descended into the Red Line subway at Chicago Avenue and State Street. But three teens were arrested.
The latest attack follows two other high-profile incidents, both on Saturday evening. First, around 8:25 p.m. Saturday when a man was attacked after parking his motor scooter near the Northwestern University campus in Streeterville.
A few minutes after that attack, man riding his bicycle on the lakefront path at 701 N. Lake Shore Dr. was attacked by a group of teenagers, who punched and kicked him.
Three teens – Dvonte Sikes, 17, of the 7500 block of South Normal Avenue; Travolus Pickett, 17, of the 8400 block of South Dorchester avenue; and Derodte Wright, 18, of the 3500 block of South State Street – have been charged as adults with felony robbery and mob action in the Saturday cases.
Two mob violence attacks have also been reported on the city’s Near West Side, in which the victims were both University of Illinois at Chicago students.
A UIC student was robbed by a group of between eight and 15 teens around 11:40 p.m. Saturday in the 1300 block of South Racine Avenue near the old site of the ABLA public housing development, and another student was attacked and robbed of his iPod while riding a No. 12 CTA bus in the 1300 block of West Roosevelt Road.
The mayor said the city’s reputation as a safe place to work and shop downtown is being endangered by the thuggery. Many of the attacks are happening near the biggest tourist and shopping attractions in the city.
Charges against the three teens arrested in the latest incident are pending.