CHICAGO (CBS) — Hundreds of people filled the streets on Chicago’s West Side overnight Saturday into Sunday – just hours after Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a stern warning about large gatherings that violate the stay-at-home order to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
At one party in Lawndale, five teens ended up getting shot and wounded.
As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reported Sunday, the warm weather this weekend had people looking to get out across the city and state. But in some cases in Chicago, revelers blatantly chose to ignore the mayor’s warning that there would be a serious crackdown on illegal get-togethers.
On Saturday afternoon, Mayor Lightfoot was talking tough as she was joined by police Supt. David Brown for a news conference. The site was Adams Street and Springfield Avenue in the East Garfield Park neighborhood, where police had been tipped off about plans for a party Saturday night.
“We are not playing games,” she said. “We mean business. The time for education into compliance is over. Don’t be stupid. We will cite you. We will shut you down, and we will arrest you and take you to jail, period.”
But that did not prevent multiple parties from being thrown just hours later. So far, there has been no word of any arrests from those get-togethers.
There were two within a short distance of each other on the West Side.
Around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, officers were called to break up the crowd gathered at Lexington Street and Albany Avenue in the Lawndale neighborhood. When police got there, people were still hanging out and even dancing in the middle of the street.
Another party was happening just the other side of the Eisenhower Expressway and a six-block jog to the east at Jackson Boulevard and Campbell Avenue. Video shows people taking group pictures, empty cups littering the sidewalk and an empty box of alcohol in a neighbor’s yard.
And despite more than 2,600 COVID-19 deaths in Illinois, people were still in some cases dancing in the streets without social distancing. In an Instagram video, a young woman can be seen showing off her moves from atop a car.
In another clip, a fight broke out despite the presence of a police officer at the scene.
Gov. JB Pritzker was asked Sunday about the parties. He noted that police did stop many other parties from even happening before they got started.
“The fact is people need to follow the rules. People will get sick if they don’t follow the rules,” Pritzker said. “We need local government and local police to make sure that people are following the rules.”
Unlike a party in the West Side’s Galewood neighborhood that was captured on video and gained widespread notoriety last weekend, the gatherings on Saturday night did not appear to be inside homes.
Illinois state Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) said he fears Saturday night’s gatherings are a sign of things to come.
“The street parties were absolutely in response, because they felt that they were not having a house party,” he said.
Ford believes people will continue to party like it’s pre-COVID-19.
“The street parties will continue, you know, until there are some firm consequences that could be followed through on,” Ford said.
While Ford is not calling for mass arrests, he is calling for financial penalties and wants to see citations issued.
“I think that when we start hitting people in the pocketbooks, I think that they will then see that we mean business,” Ford said.
Ford said a citation amount has yet to be determined in many cases, because essentially, a violation of the state’s stay-at-home order is uncharted territory.
A third street party at 13th Street and Kedvale Avenue, also in Lawndale, ended in gunfire.
Police say someone drove by in a gray sedan and started shooting, and crowds scattered. The five teenagers who were shot, all males between 15 and 19, are expected to live.
No arrests have been made.