A report released Thursday by Chicago’s watchdog organization concluded that Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown led a response to protests and looting last spring plagued by “confusion and lack of coordination” that risked the safety of both police and citizens, reported the Chicago Tribune. Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s lengthy findings listed a litany of shortcomings and inconsistencies at the Chicago Police Department’s command level that produced chaos on the street. Police administrators lacked plans for mass arrests, leading to people facing charges that were either too serious or too light, the report states. Officers were often unclear on who was in charge or what they were supposed to do.
Scattered direction led to “strategic and tactical incoherence,” according to the report. Early in the protests, police generally did not make arrests when people damaged property but the next day they were told to crack down on vandals. Echoing the complaints of protesters that police reacted brutally with batons and pepper spray, Ferguson pointed to “out-of-policy, dangerous and disrespectful actions by CPD members.” Since most officers were not wearing body cameras, the extent of the problems may be hard to fully document.