Report: Rioters in Chicago Jammed Police Radio Bands Preventing Organized Response

Shattered glass hangs from the doorway of a 7-Eleven store early Sunday morning, May 31, 2020 in Chicago, after a night of unrest and protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers …
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo

Rioters in Chicago were able to skirt the police and loot with impunity because they jammed Chicago police radio bands and prevented cops from organizing to oppose the activity, a report says.

According to CBS 2 in Chicago, someone pushed out the department’s radio frequencies on social media giving rioters the tools to jam the bands. Then, when officers tried to use their radios, all they could hear was music overriding their ability to communicate with each other.

CBS 2 also noted that the exodus of officers over the last few years had deprived the Chicago Police Department (CPD) of the “institutional knowledge” about how to organize and respond to significant events in the Windy City.

Older police action plans with details on how to respond to such events went by the wayside, and the CPD was caught flatfooted.

CBS also noted that the coronavirus was a source of interference for the department.

Officers had already been worn down from constant overtime as Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) has deployed the CPD as her special COVID-19 scold force and distributed them to prevent people from using the walking paths on the lakefront, to shut down churches, and to put on anti-party patrols in the neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors have charged one man with inciting a riot after he was pulled over and found to have homemade bombs in his car.

Matthew Rupert, 28, of Galesburg — a city in the far northwestern part of Illinois — was charged in the U.S. District Court in Minnesota on Monday after being arrested in Chicago on Sunday.

Rupert was pulled over for supposedly violating Lightfoot’s curfew order, but when police searched his car, they discovered the incendiary devices. They also found that Rupert had participated in riots both in Minneapolis and Chicago.

Chicago’s mayor also said she feels as if the riots were instigated.

Lightfoot demanded that federal officials look into the idea that outsiders are fomenting violence in the Windy City and insisted that there is “strong evidence” that the riots were highly organized and not spontaneous protests.

“There is no doubt. This was an organized effort last night,” Lightfoot said. “There were clearly efforts to subvert the peaceful process and make it into something violent.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.