A day after joining peaceful protesters, both in downtown Naperville and in front of police headquarters, Mayor Steve Chirico addressed the city to discuss the vandalism and violence that took place after curfew on June 1.
“There’s a difference between peaceful protests that call for the ending of injustice and instigators who come to our community at night to loot and cause violence. What happened last night is destruction, plain and simple,” said Chirico. “I, along with our city leaders, condemn the acts of violence that took place in Naperville.”
Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall then stepped up to the podium and addressed the escalation from peaceful protests into violence and looting.
“Instigators from outside our city, many from outside our city, began using 2 x 4’s, bricks and bottles to break store windows. An explosive device was thrown at our officers and some of them suffered minor injuries during that explosion”, Marshall said. “We did not use tear gas at all last night to deal with the violence we were encountering.”
Mayor Commends Police Response
Mayor Chirico commended the discipline and restraint of the Naperville Police Department, citing a large investment, in terms of money and time, toward training for these types of events.
Will There Be More Protests?
According to Marshall, the Naperville Police Department has gathered reports that suggest nearby cities may see protests tonight and in the days to come. The towns include Downers Grove, Bolingbrook and Hinsdale. The city of Naperville is planning to assist as needed.
Naperville’s Response to Race Relations and Unrest
In response not only to the death of George Floyd and the unrest in the week since that has followed, but to previous incidents of racism in the local community, the mayor announced Naperville has been forming a Human Rights Commission in cooperation with the Justice Department over the last few months. The city has also engaged with a diverse set of groups to hold difficult but necessary conversations about race and equality.
Restoring Downtown Naperville
Chirico also praised the collective effort by citizens to mobilize and clean up this morning. There were reportedly more than 700 residents who came out to help in downtown Naperville, hearing the call from city leaders to start the restoration of businesses impacted.