A new report created by Maggie Hickey, a former federal prosecutor who’s in charge of overseeing court-ordered reforms to the Chicago Police Department, claims that the police were unprepared for the mass protests, unrest, violence and looting that followed the murder of George Floyd last summer, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The report details how officers rushed to stores and spent their own money to buy zip ties used in mass arrest situations, while other officers hurried to rent vehicles that would allow for proper transportation of cops to areas of potential unrest. When many officers deployed, it wasn’t clear who was in charge or what exactly they should be doing. The city, Hickey noted, hadn’t dedicated sufficient resources toward responding to protests and potential unrest since hosting the NATO summit in 2012.
The city’s standard approach of planning and preparing for large protests was inadequate for responding to quickly evolving mass protests often fueled by social media. As a result, the city was left to “improvise.” The report said another consequence of being unprepared was the use of excessive force by officers. Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded to Hickey’s report by arguing Chicago was not alone. There was “no city in the country, us included, that anticipated the scale of protests” after Floyd’s death, she said. While the report did acknowledge the police department faced unprecedented challenges in dealing with the protests, unrest and the pandemic at the same time, it also highlighted the need for the city to implement reforms laid out in the consent decree that critics argue the city has been slow to put in place.