Chicago protesters rally at mayor’s house a day after clashes with police

Protesters gathered near Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home on Saturday night, a day after violent clashes left police and protesters injured, CNN affiliate WLS reports.

Saturday’s protest contrasted with the one on Friday in which a large group of protesters gathered in Grant Park and tried to bring down a statue of Christopher Columbus.

Chicago Police said that 18 officers were injured in the protest after some people in the crowd used rocks, fireworks, frozen bottles and other objects to attack officers, according to a statement. Some of the injured officers were taken to area hospitals by paramedics for further treatment and others were treated at the scene.

About 12 people were arrested and could potentially face charges that may include battery to a police officer, mob action, and/or other felonies, according to the statement.

Protesters and local leaders said that police had used excessive force on citizens during the protest.

Lightfoot, a Democrat, said she supports individuals’ right to protest but condemned some protesters and police officers.

“Unfortunately, last night, a portion of the protesters turned violent. A number of individuals came with frozen water bottles, rocks, bottles, cans and other gear to throw at officers. People in the crowd also threw fireworks and other incendiary devices at police, causing injury in several cases. These violent acts are unacceptable and put everyone at risk,” she said on Twitter.

“There have also been several reports of excessive force by the police. These are also unacceptable.”

At a news conference on Saturday, activists demanded the immediate defunding of the police department.

“We have a right to freedom of assembly. We have a right to protest. What happened yesterday was a travesty. That’s what happens in dictatorships,” Aislinn Pulley with Black Lives Matter Chicago said, adding she saw people beaten by police and officers using tear gas.

Amika Tendaji, another member of Black Lives Matter Chicago, said, “We cannot bodycam our way out of this. We cannot do any kind of reforms to get those people to act with humanity. They must be defunded.”

State Sen. Robert Peters also called for reform at the news conference.

“We must get police out of our communities and invest in housing, schools, social services, grocery stores,” he said. “That is what lifts up our communities.”

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) confirmed Saturday in a statement that it is investigating “numerous complaints” of police misconduct.

COPA said it has begun preliminary investigations into “the most egregious complaints filed” and is viewing a “widespread video shared” on social media.

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