Chicago Police Release Video Showing Moment They Say Sparked Violence During Protests

CHICAGO (CBS) — Demonstrators and police clashed violently in Chicago again Saturday night following protests downtown. Sunday morning the Chicago Police Department tweeted a video they say shows the moment that sparked the violence.

“The following video footage shows the initial incident that sparked yesterday’s violence and arrests, as well as the aggravated battery against a CPD officer with a skateboard. More video will be released throughout the day as it is receive,” police wrote.

As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported, the protest started out peacefully at the Cloud Gate sculpture, or the Bean, at Millennium Park. Issues at hand for demonstrators included defunding the Chicago Police Department and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Police Supt. David Brown said multiple agitators “hijacked a peaceful protest,” which snaked from Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive southwest to Adams and LaSalle streets before dark on Saturday evening.

The video shows protesters opening umbrellas and donning ponchos to change their appearance. Brown says they did this before assaulting officers – similar to what police reported several weeks ago at a protest near the since-removed Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park.

One officer can then be seen being hit with a skateboard after demonstrators moved forward to the police line.

One demonstrator said protester were mistreated by police.

“And it’s not right for our government to be attacking its own people for them to be pepper spraying our people. We shouldn’t need protection from the people who are meant to be protecting us,” the demonstrator said. “So the fact that they’re pepper spraying peaceful protesters, the fact that they’re beating up peaceful protesters – they’re violating our right to assemble. They’re violating our freedom of the press.”

Brown said the response by officers on Saturday evening was proportionate to what they were up against with the protesters. He said officers deployed pepper spray for their protection, and two protesters were treated at the scene. Police made 24 arrests – four of them for felony aggravated battery to a police officer, he said.

A total of 17 officers were being treated Saturday night for non-life-threatening injuries.

CBS 2 has requested any body cam video from police or their videographers on scene.

*story by CBS 2 Chicago