(CBS) – The Chicago Police Department disagreed with Donald Trump’s suggestion that local authorities recommended he cancel a political rally at the University of Illinois-Chicago Friday evening because of safety concerns.
Trump – facing the embarrassment that mobs of protesters shut down his planned appearance — indicated he spoke to police before making the decision to “postpone” the campaign event at UIC Pavilion.
“After speaking with law enforcement, I just thought it would be a wise thing for us to postpone this rally,” Trump told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
Chicago Police say they never talked with Trump, nor did they tell him to pull out.
“The Chicago Police Department had no role,” Chicago Police Interim Supt. John Escalante told reporters at a hastily convened news conference late Friday. “In fact, I can tell you we did assure the Trump campaign that we had more than adequate resources outside the UIC Pavilion and that we guaranteed them we could provide safe access and exit for Mr. Trump.”
Regardless, CBS 2 Safety and Security Analyst Ross Rice says postponing the rally was the right decision.
The estimate is about 35,000 people were in attendance, inside and outside the venue west of Chicago’s Loop. Rice says mixing pro- and anti-Trump factions could definitely create a volatile situation.
Police and protesters clashed outside the UIC Pavilion after the event was cancelled. At least one officer was injured but was expected to be okay.
Mayor Emanuel praised officers for dispersing crowds.
“For all of us who cherish the ideals upon which our country was founded, the hateful, divisive rhetoric that pits Americans against each other demeans our democratic values and diminishes our democratic process. I want to thank the men and women of the Chicago Police Department for their hard work tonight in unexpected circumstances, and their continued commitment to protecting people’s first amendment rights,” Emanuel said in a prepared statement.