In the wake of a weekend of violent looting in Chicago that resulted in downtown bridges being raised and over a hundred arrests, Black Lives Matter held a rally in support of the looters late Monday night. They organized outside the South Loop police station in downtown Chicago where the arrested looters are being held.
The riots started in Chicago Sunday after an exchange of fire between an armed black man and two officers left the 20-year-old man wounded and in police custody for attempted murder. Before he was even charged, rumors spread that the man was an unarmed teenager shot by police despite him shooting at the officers first. Looting was seemingly coordinated as a U-Haul was used to ram through store windows and cars dropped off looters by the dozens. By the end of the night, downtown Chicago was in shambles and at least 13 officers were injured.
In the wake of all this destruction, Black Lives Matter Chicago organized a rally less than 24 hours later in support of the looters and in criticism of the police department. One of the rally’s organizers, Ariel Atkins, said in reference to the looting, “That is reparations. Anything they want to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance.” She said she didn’t care if people robbed Nike or Gucci or Macy’s because “that makes sure that person eats.”
At the rally, protesters held up a banner defending the looters that said, “Our futures have been looted from us … loot back.” Monday’s rally was not just about protesting the imprisonment of the looters but a defense of their actions as legitimate.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown identified the looting as a coordinated response to the police shooting on Sunday. He said that a number of his officers were shot at on Sunday night and one officer’s nose was broken.
In response to the police reports including the young man who shot at officers, Atkins responded, “Police say a lot of things.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has continually dismissed the rampant lawlessness in her city as “peaceful protesters,” finally spoke up on Monday morning. “It was abject criminal behavior, period. This was straight up felony criminal conduct,” she told reporters at a press conference.
The crime rate and violence in Chicago has skyrocketed in the wake of George Floyd’s death and anti-police rhetoric. In July alone, there were 105 reported murders, adding to the 324 already reported this year. There were 573 shootings, with at least 58 of them being minors. Compared to last July, murders and shootings were up by 139 percent and 75 percent, respectively. The heightened crime rate even led Lightfoot to consider auxiliary federal agents in conjunction with President Trump late last month. But a weekend like this with rampant and organized looting rivals even the crime spree of the Fourth of July weekend.
The state of affairs in Chicago and the Black Lives Matter movement there is so disconnected from the mainstream that imminent lawlessness is no longer excused by BLM supporters as “peaceful protesting” but rather celebrated as justifiable reparations for slavery. Even the city’s far-left mayor has finally said that they’ve gone too far. When rioters take matters into their own hands by looting in the name of radical ideas like “reparations,” then it is clear that parts of our country are in a spiraling descent toward nothing less than anarchy.