Hundreds of young people descended on downtown Chicago for two nights in a row this past weekend for a rowdy “Teen Takeover” of the Loop. The next mayor of Chicago, Brandon Johnson, condemned the event and released a statement advising against stereotyping young people.
During the chaos that unfolded on Saturday night, two male teenagers, ages sixteen and seventeen, were shot while standing in a crowd. Hundreds of teens were seen breaking windows, blocking roads, and fighting in the streets. Fox 32 Chicago reports that both victims were brought to the hospital and are now in fair condition.
“In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. It is unacceptable and has no place in our city. However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities,” Johnson said in a statement on Sunday.
Because we want every aspect of our city to continue to be welcoming to residents as well as guests, we need to collaborate on the creation of areas in which young people may congregate in a manner that is both safe and responsible, and these areas must be supervised and guided by adults.
Nine adults and six juveniles were arrested by the Chicago Police Department in connection with the takeover’s social media announcement. Two adults and a 16-year-old male juvenile were arrested and charged with possessing a stolen vehicle, and the teen was charged with unlawful use of a firearm. Most of the other arrests were people doing hazardous activities.
In recent years, the Chicago Police Department has had a difficult time controlling the city’s rising crime rate, which reached a 25-year high in murders in the year 2021. During the election for mayor, Johnson was subjected to criticism from the more moderate members of the Democratic Party for his previous advocacy of shifting monies away from the police department and into other social service organizations. Since then, he has distanced himself from that position, stating that he would not lower the budget for the police department while simultaneously contending that adding more officers will not fix the issues with crime in the city.