CHICAGO – Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Saturday that Mexico’s Independence Day celebrations in the city are okay in moderation, but aren’t okay when they block streets and keep residents awake all day. night. That is why the police will use new crowd control tactics on Saturday evening.
The annual celebrations began Thursday evening and continued Friday evening. Tens of thousands of people marched and drove through Chicago’s Loop, waving Mexican flags, lighting fireworks, playing music and “drifting” at intersections. More parties are expected on Saturday night, but this time revelers will be greeted with additional police tactics to keep people moving and safe.
“We’re going to be towing more cars,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said, warning that the cars might not be towed on the spot, but could be towed later – at a cost of $10,000. “Drag racing and drifting will not be tolerated. These cars will be towed to the spot or at a later date under the new order.”
Brown said officers will use “tire deflation devices” on Saturday night to disable dragging and drifting drivers. There will also be road closures, some in conjunction with Illinois State Police. The closures will include downtown bridges and parts of DuSable Lake Shore Drive. Some freeway exits, including the Ohio Street exit, will also be closed.
“Celebrate safely, but we have to have public safety,” Brown said.
A group of people were robbed and their car was stolen by an armed suspect on DuSable Lake Shore Drive during Mexico’s Independence Day celebrations downtown early Saturday morning.
The party kept Loop workers from getting home in a timely manner, the mayor said, and kept Loop residents awake for hours.
“Last night cultural pride was definitely in the spotlight, and we’re saving many people celebrating safely across our city,” Lightfoot said. “But unfortunately what was also on display last night I think diminished the celebration of this important anniversary of Mexico’s Independence Day. Some have engaged in dangerous and reckless behavior. Blocking major roads to make donuts is not safe. Lighting fireworks in the middle of the street is not safe. Honing your horn and loud music all night long is not respectful to neighbors in the downtown and other neighborhoods.