Police arrest 'Occupy Chicago' protestors after stand off at Congress and Michigan

Chicago police arrested a group of people from 'Occupy Chicago' following a standoff at the corner of Congress and Michigan avenues on the evening of October 15, 2011 that continued until after midnight. The arrests took place following the decision by 'Occupy Chicago' to move from the corner of LaSalle and Jackson, five blocks away, to the Grant Park, site of many Chicago protests (including the infamous 1968 protests at the Democratic National Convention).

Dozens of people — including a number of Chicago teachers — joined the protest on the night of October 15 as part of Occupy Chicago. Above, teachers and others link arms in solidarity with those who had pitched and occupied the tents in Grant Park prior to the beginning of the police arrests. Substance photo by Kristine Mayle.As the day began on October 16, a reported 200 people had been arrested. Police sources had not given a precise number as of the original filing of this article. [Police later confirmed that 175 people had been arrested].

Chicago police prepare to make arrests of Occupy Chicago protestors on the evening of October 15, 2011. Substance photo by John Kugler.The Occupy Chicago protestors began to set up tents in the park adjacent to the "Bowman" and "Spearman" statues (two naked Native Americans on horseback) following a march from their old site, LaSalle and Jackson, at the corner where the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Bank of America have their offices.

After police warnings began just before midnight, the protestors were arrested and the tents taken down. Some of the protestors chanted slogans against Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, contrasting his decision to arrest them with that of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has tolerated protestors camping near Wall Street ("Occupy Wall Street") for more than a month. The arrests took place near Chicago's Prudential Building, the site of the Obama re-election national campaign office (Emanuel served as Obama's chief of staff until one year ago).

The arrests took place following a standoff when more than 2,000 people marched from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to Grant Park and then set up two dozen tents in the park. They said they were going to stay in the park for the night, and made clear that they wanted to begin an encampment like the one in New York City, "Occupy Wall Street." The marchers, many of whom remained on the west side of Michigan Ave. while the protestors set up tents across the street, included teachers and others. Police eventually closed off traffic in the area, as they prepared to make the arrests.

After midnight Saturday, following several police warnings that the encampment was illegal, police began to arrest what was originally reported (in some news reports) the more than 200 protesters who refused to leave the area in the park called "The Bowman" and "The Spearman" at Congress and Michigan. [See below. Later in the morning, Chicago police officially stated that the number arrested on the morning of October 16 totaled 175].

Some of the protestors waiting during the evening of October 15 - 16 prior to the arrests. The word 'IDEAS' in the background is displayed at the Prudential Building north of Grant Park advertising "Chicago Ideas Week" which was being promoted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who ordered the more than 200 arrests in the early morning hours of October 16, 2011. The Prudential Building is the site of the national re-election headquarters of President Barack Obama. Substance photo by John Kugler.The crowd had marched earlier from the Federal Reserve Bank at LaSalle and Jackson to Grant Park, chanting “We are the 99 percent,” and, “How do we fix the deficit? Tax, tax, tax the rich!” A rally earlier in the evening had included members of the Teamsters Union and the Chicago Teachers Union. At least one Chicago teacher was known to have been arrested.

As dawn approached, several demonstrators were waiting outside the Chicago Police district headquarters at 18th and State St., according to Substance sources who asked not to be identified. Others were waiting to take home some of those who had been arrested. Until later, Substance did not know precisely how many had been arrested, what the charges were, and how much bail was for each [See below for these details].

According to Chicago Police Office of Media affairs, the total number of arrests was 175. All of those arrested were charged with violating a municipal ordinance that makes it a violation to be in a public park between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Officer Perez of Chicago Police Media Affairs told Substance that those who were arrested would probably be released on their own recognizance (without having to post bail) unless a background check turned up other police issues. Chicago police routinely run a criminal background check on everyone arrested.

One of the ironies of the evening was that the lights from the Prudential Building advertising the "Chicago Ideas Week" were a backdrop to the Occupy Chicago confrontation. There was no reason for the police to force protestors out of Grant Park except for the pique of former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who is now serving as Chicago's mayor. Emanuel's former book, Barack Obama, has his national campaign headquarters in the building with the "Ideas" lights above. Substance photo by Kristine Mayle.The group "Occupy Chicago" began protesting outside the Federal Reserve in Chicago 23 days earlier. Sources with the protests told Substance later on Sunday, October 16, that they intended to continue trying to get the right to sleep in Chicago's public Grant Park. Many were perplexed that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had undermined the public events, while his New York City counterpart, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was in his fourth week of the larger protest called "Occupy Wall Street." Emanuel's usually hyperactive press office had no official statement on the matter as of the end of the day on October 16.


October 16, 2011 at 9:22 AM

By: Jeff Burdick

99% movement and Rahm Emanuel

The arrest of Occupy Chicago peaceful protesters demonstrates that some laws are more important to civil order for the top 1% than others. Rahm Emanuel runs for mayor without a home residence to live in. Mayor Daley funnels more than $3 million in taxpayer TIF money to his favored charities including his wife's. Between 1972 and 1991, 135 African-American men and women were arrested and tortured by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and officers at Area 2 police headquarters, and Dick Daley as State's Attorney refuses to investigate. The city has paid out tens of millions of dollars in the last couple years to settle a variety of police abuse cases, but reforming Police Chief Jody Weiss – while improving all public safety numbers – run out of town on a rail because the police don't like his reforms. Daley destroys Meigs Field runways breaking federal laws and leading to $330,000 in fines for the taxpayers to cover. Last year, CME makes nearly $1 billion but gets $15 million in taxpayer TIF money to spruce up its building at 30 S. Wacker, and now Rahm is lobbying Springfield for CME to get more tax breaks while jacking up taxes on the rest of us. All of this waste and corruption is accepted by the powers that be. But Saturday’s arrests show that if you demonstrate peacefully against these iniquities you will be arrested for disorderly behavior. Do not let greed, corruption and unprincipled leadership silence our consciences and voices as taxpayers.

October 16, 2011 at 2:55 PM

By: John Kugler

Mayor Bully — You lose again

As far a mass arrests this one went smooth. It is clear that rahm is willing to violate anyone's constitutional right to assembly when they do not support his crony capitalistic agenda. Another mistake by the Rahmbo team, now people will be more determined to occupy.

Just think — it is October; how long are people going to be camped out on Michigan Ave?

Mr Bully you loose again.

Here is a link to raw footage and pics of last night's occupation and arrests. Please give substance news credit when you use them.

In Solidaity

October 16, 2011 at 3:47 PM

By: Susan Zupan

'Ideas' photo's symbolism

I'm not sure if it's the same building, but regarding the photo showing the word "IDEAS" in lights on Obama's re-election location headquarters, the "Chicago Ideas Week" icon in lights on one of the buildings. I saw in the night sky after leaving the Art Institute rally/protest on Monday (October 10). They also attempted to display a light bulb (perhaps just above the "IDEAS" in the photo?). But instead of the light bulb of "ideas," it rather resembled some kind of fractured skull and crossbones...

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