Chicago protests: Governor JB Pritzker, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Cardinal Blase Cupich address unrest across area

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Store owners continued to clean up Tuesday after hundreds of looters spent hours strippng the shelves cleans of the shopping center at 54th Street , just off the Dan Ryan Expressway on Sunday.

Speaking from the mall's parking lot, community leaders said the looters were hurting the cause that sparked the protests, the death of George Floyd.

"There's a way to resist constructively. Busting up gas stations in your community is not intelligent," said Jahmal Cole from My Block, My hood, My City.

Just down the street from the vandalized stores, Governor Pritzker and other leaders challenged looters to protest Floyd's death without destroying the businesses that support their community, including pharmacies that many depend on for medicine.

WATCH: Gov. JB Pritzker addresses unrest across Chicago
EMBED More News Videos

Governor JB Pritzker joined other community leaders to discuss the response to the unrest in the Chicago area in wake of the death of George Floyd.

"When pharmacies are looted, that is a potential tragedy when people have no access to their meds.," said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Cardinal Blase Cupich says looters are spreading what he calls "the sickness of violence." And other religious leaders say they understand the rage in the community over continued racism, but the reaction has been counterproductive.

Apostle Carl White of Victory Christian International Ministries said, "A lot of this rage has been locked up for years. But don't destroy your own communities, demonstrate peacefully."

In the meantime Governor Pritzker says he has sent Illinois National Guard members to help Chicago Police.

"They're a highly trained force but remember what they're trained for. They're trained to go to war," said Governor Pritzker.

The Governor says the first order of business is to rebuild and reopen, but he says the legislature will have to address the systematic racism in the next budget.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.