To protect businesses from looters, a long strip of Madison Street on the city's West Side remained closed Wednesday, with a visible police presence, but the owner of one West Garfield Park convenience store said police didn't protect him Monday afternoon when a flood of looters destroyed his store
Alderman Jason Ervin, of the 28th Ward, agrees.
"We do believe a response should have been there; however it was not as quick as it needed to be," Ervin said.
The store's owner, landlord and several community residents made multiple phone calls to police as looters broke down a steel security gate to get inside. They say it was at the same time several police officers were stationed down the street at the corner of Madison and Pulaski.
"I kept calling; I said, 'they are a block away, can't you at least send one car on this end?' when we knew they were beating on the door," building owner Tommica Foster-Akins said.
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Ervin said he called for a police presence when he heard looters were moving into the area, as they targeted a shoe store. He said police stayed at Pulaski and Madison because the location was the epicenter of looting in May and June.
"They were unfortunately unable to cover the strip in its entirety," Ervin said.
For convenience store owner Walid Mouhammad, that is not an excuse. He spent over $300,000 rebuilding his store after it was looted in May. He doesn't think he can reopen again.
"I cannot afford to do anything," Mouhammad said.
Because a long stretch of Madison on the West Side is a TIF district, Ervin said any business that has been looted can get funds to rebuild through the city's small business improvement program.
The Chicago Police Department has not yet provided information about why police were unable to stop looters from destroying Mouhammed's store, especially since so many officers were just down the street.