Chicago police superintendent pledges DNC protests ‘will not be 1968’ riots

Jun 9, 2024 | Latest News | 0 comments

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Chicago won’t see a repeat of the 1968 riots outside the Democratic National Convention, CPD superintendent promised last week.

Democrats are concerned that anti-Israel protests could disrupt the upcoming convention similarly to Vietnam War protesters violently clashing with police officers outside the event nearly 60 years ago. The 1968 convention was also held in Chicago. 

Nevertheless, Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling assured the public that officers have been preparing to deal with the expected protests.

“This will not be 1968,” Snelling said. “Our response as a Chicago Police Department will be a lot more deliberate … a lot more controlled because our officers are being trained in the best way possible to respond to any level of civil unrest.”

CHICAGO WATCHDOG AGENCY WARNS POLICE UNPREPARED FOR PROTESTS AHEAD OF DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

Both local and national Democrats fear the “optics” of an uncivil or potentially violent protest as President Biden makes his re-election bid. 

“If you’re Biden and the Democratic Party and the mayor of Chicago, you just want peace and calm and stability,” University of Alabama at Birmingham history professor Andrew Baer told the Chicago Tribune. “You don’t want the bad optics of either suppressing a protest or the protest embarrassing the coronation of Biden.”

In an op-ed to the Chicago Tribune, Snelling admitted that the department was caught off-guard by the “civil unrest” during the 2020 riots. He reported that officers have since been training in non-violent tactics to handle massive protests.

“Someone recently asked me if I was worried. No, I do not worry. It is a waste of time and energy. Instead, I channel that time and energy into a far more positive use. I plan. I prepare. Most importantly, I have complete faith and trust in the department, our officers and the people of Chicago,” Snelling wrote. “We all want the same thing: a successful and safe convention. Together, we can — and we will — make that happen. We are ready.”

In the past week, Chicago police officers took part in two days of specialized training in how to handle assaults and attacks, the use of body shields, protecting the public and removing anyone who is injured. 

DNC TO HOLD 2024 CONVENTION IN CHICAGO

All officers have taken part in some type of training for the August convention, but 2,500 officers will be taking “tier one training,” which is specifically deployed for more volatile incidents.

The Democratic National Convention will be held at Chicago’s United Center on Aug. 19-22 and is expected to draw an estimated 50,000 visitors and massive protests.

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