Chicago police hold 'preparedness drill' as concerns over 'domestic violent extremists' rise

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Police Department conducted a training exercise downtown Wednesday night as security ramps up coast-to-coast ahead of Inauguration Day.

Chicago police had a heavy presence downtown Wednesday for what was described as "a preparedness drill." CPD said in a statement: "This exercise is not being conducted in response to any incidents or planned events." But it comes amid rising concerns nationwide about extremist unrest.

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Kevin Lyons, 40, of Chicago, was arrested by agents from the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and taken into custody Wednesday morning.

"Chicago will take whatever measures are needed," said U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, (D- Chicago and western suburbs). "I don't think that there will be widespread violence."

One week after the Capitol insurrection, the FBI, Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning of potentially thousands of "Domestic Violent Extremists."

The bulletin warned the extremists - emboldened by last week's events - are now planning attacks that include "...destruction of property and violence targeting [government] officials..."

The bulletin also warned that " enforcement, journalists... racial, ethnic, and/or religious minorities..." could also be targeted.

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Domestic violent extremists are the number one terrorism threat in 2021, according to the FBI.

"Yes, we have received intelligence briefings that are really scary about what these groups are seeking to do," said U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D- Northwest and western suburbs).

"Illinois is in jeopardy. Everybody, across the nation, everybody should be vigilant. If you see something that concerns you, say something," said U.S. Rep. Marie Newman, (D- Chicago and southwest suburbs).

Earlier this week, federal authorities warned of armed protests at all 50 state capitols. Illinois State Police say they have all the resources needed to handle any threats.
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