CHICAGO (CBS)—A mob of unruly teens who took public transportation to Michigan Avenue from the South Side were sent back home by police over Memorial Day weekend.
A cell phone video that captured the teens fighting on the Magnificent Mile was released Tuesday. And while the fight’s occurrence is undisputable, the way police handled the teens raised some eyebrows.
Officers dealt with the brawlers by sending many of the teens to the Chicago and State Red Line stop, where they were directed to southbound trains and buses.
Other Red Line trains were prevented from stopping at Chicago Avenue to prevent others from joining the mayhem.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he was satisfied with how police responded to the mob of violence, which broke out in the center of Chicago’s hottest tourist destination.
“In some instances, police showed great restraint in what they were doing because the end goal was to let everybody enjoy the city, but it enjoy it responsibly,” Johnson told reporters Tuesday.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley spoke to one North Side resident about his take on the incident. That resident, Dave Berger, described it as a long-time problem among rival gang members.
“I don’t even think they don’t like each other,” Berger said. “They just like to fight.”
Johnson denied the brawlers were profiled by police and defended the choice to redirect the offenders rather than make arrests.
“We didn’t force anyone to go anywhere—we directed them,” Johnson said. “You choose to stay there, then that was your choice, but if you choose to leave, then we gave you a safe way to leave that location.”
A police presence continued to be seen at Chicago and State on Tuesday.
“Our goal is not to put kinds into the system indiscriminately,” Johnson said. “Sometimes kids do goofy things (and) we all know that. Anytime we can use another alternative other than arrest, we will do that.”
Police arrested 15 people over the weekend, with three due to gun violations.
Johnson said there were 1,300 additional officers on the street and overall violence was down compared with last year.
Murders were about the same (seven in 2018, six of 2017), but shootings (25/33) and shooting victims (29/44) were lower this year.