Chicago Police Warning: Gangs May Use Laquan McDonald Protests for Crime

AP Photo/Paul Beaty
AP Photo/Paul Beaty
Chicago, IL

As the protests over the Laquan McDonald shooting raged across The Windy City, a Chicago Police document warned that gang members might use the cover of the protests to commit crimes or attack police.

Internal police documents warned officers to be on alert for gang activity during the two days of protests, a USA Today report revealed.

Protests erupted in Chicago on Tuesday after the CPD finally released the dashcam video of the November 20, 2014, shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The teen was shot 16 times by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.

Even as most of the protests have been peaceful thus far, with few arrests, the CPD is worried that the marches may act as a screen for gang activity.

According to the paper, police supervisors were warning street officers to be on the lookout. “The information indicates that gang members may utilize ambush-style tactics in order to shoot police officers in retaliation to recently publicized events,” the document reads.

The memo was released by the CPD’s crime control strategies division and was marked “law enforcement sensitive” and warned that information led the department to believe that gang members in the 12th and 14th districts on the city’s West Side may use the protests for their own ends.

“The information indicates that officers leaving the police stations could be targeted because officers will not be on guard or ready if fired upon,” the alert says. “Also officers could be drawn to dead-end streets, distracted or baited, and then shot while inside their patrol vehicles,” the document added.

Despite the warnings, only five protesters were arrested on the first night of the marches. The individuals were charged with such offenses as possession of a weapon, felony aggravated battery, drug possession, and other charges.

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