Chicago has been grappling with several instances of large gatherings of teenagers engaging in disruptive "teen takeovers" throughout the summer. These episodes often culminate in violence, yet the city's new leftist Mayor Brandon Johnson finds it inappropriate to label these groups a "mob."
Coming into power earlier this year, Johnson extolled his “unique approach“ in addressing the youth issues plaguing the city amidst a surge of teenage crowds taking to the streets. Following another round of "teen takeover" last weekend, Chicago's boys in blue apprehended 40 adolescents involved in brawling and looting a local convenience store, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
At a Wednesday press conference, Johnson voiced his approval for the arrests and praised the officers' “sensitivity and patience” in handling the teenagers.
“That’s a unique approach. You know, many people expect us to treat people undignified. My administration is different,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, arrests were made. Unfortunately, some damage was caused. And the level of sensitivity and patience that our officers expressed, I’m appreciative of that. That is constitutional. That is a system of care.”
Speaking on the use of the term “mob,” Johnson stated, “That’s not appropriate. We’re not talking about mob actions. We have to be careful when we use language to describe certain behavior. There’s a history in this city, and, I mean, to refer to children as like baby Al Capones is not appropriate.”
Over the spring and summer, teenagers have assembled repeatedly across the city, partaking in activities like looting stores and jumping on parked vehicles, primarily organized via social media.
In June, a huge gathering of teens brought a main street in the Lakeview neighborhood to a standstill for six hours, as per the Chicago Sun-Times. One local told WGN that her distress call to 911 received a disappointing response, saying "there was nothing they could do."
The initial group of responding police officers was vastly outnumbered by the teen crowd, which initially consisted of a few dozen but quickly ballooned to over 300 as news spread through social media.