After the first wave of protests and vandalism that paralyzed downtown Chicago last summer, a top mayoral aide and the police superintendent congratulated each other for how the city’s officers did their jobs.
“Thank you for all your incredible work last night — you made Chicago proud,” the aide told police Supt. David Brown, who responded, “officers made the city of Chicago and the police profession proud!!!”
Their email exchange came on May 30, the day after the unrest began on a Friday.
Over the rest of that weekend, though, Brown and his staff were caught off guard by growing civil disturbances downtown and in the city’s neighborhoods, according to a 124-page report released today by the city’s inspector general, Joe Ferguson.
Officers were “outflanked, under-equipped and unprepared,” and the Chicago Police Department “critically disserved both its own front-line members and members of the public,” the report says.
Anti-police demonstrations were gathering strength across the country, but Brown said he “had not seen any reason for concern leading into that weekend,” according to the inspector general’s report.
And Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she didn’t assume there was a “potential for peaceful protests to turn violent,” the report said.
The damning report was based on 70 interviews with cops, city officials and protesters, most of whom aren’t named, along with more than 100 hours of videos from officers’ body-worn cameras and police data on arrests and uses of force.
“This can never happen again,” one unnamed command-staff member told the inspector general’s office.