CHICAGO (CBS) – The goal is keeping the peace while minimizing disruption -– to both the city of Chicago and law-abiding protesters.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy says that’s his strategy for this weekend’s NATO summit, amid fears some may have about throwing cops and activists into the same setting.
“There are people who are intent to come and commit crimes, and our expectation is that we’re going to arrest those folks and protect and facilitate the marches and speeches that other people want to do,” McCarthy tells CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine.
He declined to say whether his department or its partner agencies have identified specific individuals or groups intent on causing trouble as world leaders meet at McCormick place.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure that we facilitate the public safety. Some of those methods are covert right now and I can’t talk about them,” McCarthy says.
Some of the protesters authorities will monitor are those dressed in black from head to toe, with bandanas covering their faces — the unofficial uniform of those with a history of violence at past international gatherings.
McCarthy says he plans to employ a strategy based on surgical strikes rather than massive force. He says putting up the “right front” and dealing with protesters in a low-key way — sans helmets and riot gear — will encourage demonstrators to likewise be peaceful toward officers.
“You’re not going to see police charging wholesale into a crowd, you’re not going to see tear gas,” McCarthy says.
He says his department is not interested in dispersing crowds, but he wants officers to be able to “extract people who need to be extracted.”
“We have a number of officers who have been trained in these extraction techniques, and we anticipate we’re going to be able to do it very well,” the superintendent says.
McCarthy said police do not plan to wear SWAT gear. Pressed by Levine about any potential drastic response, McCarthy did not rule out using stronger measures, but only if it’s absolutely necessary, he says.