Reform monitor to review Chicago police protest response

CHICAGO (AP) — An independent monitor overseeing the progress of reform of the Chicago Police Department said Friday that she will investigate allegations that officers have been violent toward people protesting the killing of George Floyd.

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Several Chicago officers came under scrutiny this week after a video showed them pulling two women from a car and throwing them to the ground. Two officers have lost their police powers while the incident is investigated, the department said.

Authorities also are reviewing a separate video that shows an officer chasing and punching a protester last week.

Independent Monitor Maggie Hickey announced her plans during a court hearing after she received a letter from activists in Chicago requesting an investigation.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it had received 344 complaints by Friday morning alleging police conduct, mostly related to the protests or unrest but also including allegations that officers covered their name tags or turned off body cameras.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement Friday that she supported Hickey's plan.

“Just as the overwhelming majority of protests remained peaceful this week, the vast majority of officers followed their training and supervisor direction during these difficult times,” Lightfoot said. "Nonetheless, we will continue to vigorously investigate all reports of excessive force arising from this week.”

Separately, the president of the Chicago Police Board, which determines discipline against officers, said he was struck by police on Sunday while they clashed with protesters. Ghian Foreman, who is black, said he was not protesting.

"I am choosing not to discuss the specifics of my encounter or dwell on how it occurred," Foreman said. “It is more important to focus on how it could have been avoided and how aggressive police confrontations can be avoided moving forward.”

Protests have kicked off in cities across the U.S. since Floyd’s May 25 death. The handcuffed black man died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for air, even after he stopped moving.

Earlier Friday, suburban authorities said a man had been arrested in the fatal shooting of a bystander during unrest following a protest in Cicero.

Zion Haygood of Chicago has been charged with first-degree murder, WGN-TV and the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Jose Gutierrez, 28, was shot about 7 p.m. Monday as people were breaking into businesses in the neighborhood and taking whatever they could carry, police said. Gutierrez, also of Chicago, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania said an investigation determined Gutierrez was not involved in any stealing.

He was one of two people slain in Cicero on Monday. Victor Cazares Jr., 27, was fatally shot near a grocery store.

Law enforcement arrested 60 people in Cicero Monday night. The Illinois State Police and Cook County sheriff’s office were called in to help local police as people broke into a liquor store and other businesses and stole items.

Lightfoot said an overnight curfew remained in effect.

“It's my expectation and hope that we will have multiple days of peaceful protest,” Lightfoot said. “We'll look and see what the weekend brings. And if we continue to see this, then I'll be the first one to embrace eliminating a curfew. But we're not there yet.”