Chicago Mayor Asks for Moment of Silence Amid George Floyd Protests, National Guard Called In

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded to protests over the death of George Floyd by asking for a citywide moment of silence Sunday evening and declaring "we will be able to learn from this moment."

Thousands of protesters gathered in downtown Chicago Saturday in protest of Floyd's May 25 death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer that resulted in a third-degree murder charge being filed. At a Sunday morning press conference, Lightfoot said she was "disgusted" with agitators armed with pipes, bats and hammers who damaged property and caused at least one injury to a Chicago Police officer near Trump Tower. She said the Illinois National Guard would have a "limited presence" across the city Sunday night.

The city has imposed a curfew which began at 9 a.m. Saturday and ended at 6 a.m. Sunday, and Lightfood added that the curfew will repeat each day moving forward "until further notice." She announced a 5 p.m., local time, moment of silence Sunday evening.

"I know in my heart, in my soul, that we will be able to learn from this moment and move forward together," Lightfoot said in response to the Saturday night protests which damaged parts of the city's Loop district.

Videos posted to social media Sunday showed nearly every storefront along Michigan Avenue with shattered glass or some type of damage.

"This is a time for us to unite," Lightfoot said. "We have to turn our pain into purpose in order to get through this moment together.

"To be clear, I've marched in a few protests in my day, but neither I nor anyone that I was with saw the need to bring weapons in order to lift up our voice and express our First Amendment rights," she continued.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown spoke at the same conference and offered a blunt description of Saturday night's destructive outcome: "Last night was not a protest. The people that came downtown were not there to exercise their First Amendment rights. These criminals arrived in the Central Business District prepared to damage property and steal."

Newsweek reached out to the mayor's office Sunday afternoon for additional reactions to the Saturday night protests.

Lightfoot said she called the Illinois National Guard to help assist local Chicago police officers "in order to not have a repeat of what we saw last night." Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker released a statement Sunday afternoon in support of the demonstrators right to protest, but echoed Lightfoot and several top police officials who called for peaceful acts.

At the request of @chicagosmayor Lori Lightfoot, I am activating the Illinois National Guard to support the City of Chicago in protecting our communities and keeping people safe.

My full statement:

— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) May 31, 2020

"This is an immensely challenging moment for our city, our state, and our country, one born from decades and centuries of systemic racism. To those peacefully expressing the pain, fear and rage of this moment, I hear your. Your voices matter," Pritzker said.

Chicago police said six people died and at least 13 others were injured in shooting incidents across the city so far this weekend. The city surpassed 1,000 total shooting victims throughout 2020 last week following one of the city's most violent Memorial Day weekends in years. The city currently has at least 1,003 shooting victims this year, which is 128 more than in 2019.

Chicago police told Newsweek they did not have any additional crime data available Sunday afternoon.

Last week, Lightfoot offered a thinly veiled rebuke to President Donald Trump labeling the Floyd protesters "thugs." During a Friday news conference, the Chicago mayor said: "And I will code what I really want to say to Donald Trump. It's two words. It begins with 'F.' And it ends with 'you.'"

lori lightfoot
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded to protests over the death of George Floyd by calling for a citywide moment of silence Sunday evening and declaring, "we will be able to learn from this moment." Timothy Hiatt/Getty