Chicago police face backlash over social media posts, citing violation of privacy

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020
CPD defends social media posts following weekend protests
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Within hours of this past weekend's downtown demonstration, Chicago Police used its main Twitter account to post mugshots and home blocks of people who faced criminal charges.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A youth-led peaceful protest turned violent this past weekend as several clashes broke out between protesters and police. Within hours of the downtown demonstration, Chicago police used its main Twitter account to post mugshots and home blocks of people who faced criminal charges.

Dozens were arrested and several were hurt, including 17 police officers as protesters clashed with police Saturday in the Loop.

"Why is it necessary to put on social media because all it has created so far is harassment to these individuals and nothing else in the community other than more distrust and more division," said Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, 25th Ward.

RELATED: Chicago police defend response to weekend protest clash downtown as protesters demand apology

State law does require law enforcement to release identifying information of arrestees, but Ald. Sigcho-Lopez and others say proactively posting it on social media was out of line.

"It shows even at the highest level of the police department they are implementing bad judgement," said Berto Aguayo, founder of the anit-violence group Increase the Peace.

Facing a backlash, CPD deleted all the tweets except one. The department has since said it will no longer include residential addresses of offenders in social media posts to protect their privacy.

Besides changing policy on tweets, Berto Aguayo says police must review their tactics last weekend. Aguayo, who participated in the protest, says he was peppered sprayed and hit with a baton.


"It was almost like an abusive parent showing who is boss in the house. [It was] completely horrific because it was a bunch of kids organizing their right to peacefully assemble," Aguayo said.

Moving forward, Aguayo and Ald. Sigcho- Lopez says there must be a city-wide plan to make sure police and protesters can co-exist peacefully.

At least four people are facing felony charges from Saturday's protest, including 26-year old Columbia College student Jeremey Johnson, who allegedly struck the officer with a skateboard.

Johnson is due in bond court Monday. He's charged with felony aggravated battery to a peace officer.