Police Supt. Garry McCarthy vows to hunt down ‘flash mob’ suspects
By FRAN SPIELMAN AND KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporters June 6, 2011 1:30PM
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said about the weekend's flash mob attacks: "We’re gonna find every one of `em. And we’re gonna prosecute and arrest every single one of ‘em.” | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
Updated: July 15, 2011 12:17AM
Acting Police Supt. Garry McCarthy vowed Monday to hunt down every last thug responsible for so-called “flash mob” incidents over the weekend and throw the book at them to get a handle on a problem that’s damaging the reputation of downtown Chicago as a safe place to live, work, play and shop.
Speaking as five teens made their first appearances in court in connection with a string of five robberies — four within a ten-minute span — in Streeterville Saturday, McCarthy said police had made “in excess of 20 arrests” connected to flash mobs over the weekend.
During a break at his City Council confirmation hearing, McCarthy pointed to the arrests as proof there are enough police officers downtown, that the department’s strategy is working and that shoppers, employees and residents have nothing to fear from the large groups of teens who use violence and sheer numbers to intimidate and confuse.
“Our reaction to it has been quick, it’s been swift and it’s been very effective,” McCarthy said. “I don’t believe that it’s going to be something that we need to worry about long-term. We have to knock this out. We have to knock it out quickly — and that’s what we’re doing.
“The strategy to prevent that from occurring again is not to be satisfied when you get 10 kids commit an infraction and arrest three of them. ...We’re gonna find every one of `em. And we’re gonna prosecute and arrest every single one of ‘em.”
Asked whether tourists and people wanting to enjoy the lakefront should be concerned, McCarthy said, “No” but urged citizens to use common sense. “We have to be aware,” he said. “That’s the nature of the world today. But nobody should be afraid of this.”
McCarthy again insisted that gang loitering, intimidation and flash mobs had nothing to do with his department’s unprecedented decision to close North Avenue Beach on Memorial Day, despite statements to the contrary from beachgoers and some police officers.
Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has takes McCarthy at his word, but called for more officers downtown and along the lakefront.
Statistics show that robberies have increased by 10 percent so far this year in the downtown Near North police district, placing the district 12th out of 25 districts citywide.
Asked Monday whether he intends to assign more officers downtown, McCarthy said, “No...What we’re looking at is the cops we have, where they are and what they’re doing.”
Three adult teens charged in connection with the Saturday robberies were each ordered held Monday on bails of $200,000 or more. They were identified by prosecutors as:
◆Derodte Wright, 18, of the 3500 block of South State Street, a student at Perspectives Charter School, accused of attacking nursing student Ryan Dacumos and robbing him on the Lake Michigan bikepath near Chicago Ave. around 8.30 p.m. Described in court by his attorney as a good student with prospects of a college baseball scholarship, Wright was ordered held on bail of $200,000 by Cook County Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil.
◆Trovulus Pickett, 17, a Youth Connections Leadership Academy student who lives in the 8400 block of South Dorchester. Also charged with the robbery of Dacumos, Pickett allegedly teamed up with other youths to attack a 68-year-old Seattle physician Jack Singer in the 300 block of East Chicago Avenue minutes earlier, stealing his iPad and phone, and is also accused of robbing a Japanese doctor of his iPod in the 700 block of North Lake Shore Drive a few minutes later. Pickett’s bail was set at $300,000.
◆Dvonte Sykes, 17, of the 7500 block of South Normal, a student at Carver Vocational Career Academy, accused of robbing a Thai man who was taking photographs in the 700 block of North Lake Shore Drive and with taking part in a “mob action” in which northwest suburban insurance agent Krzysztof Wilkowski fought off robbers who tried to take his scooter in the 300 block of East Chicago. Sykes’ bail was set at $250,000.
Speaking later Monday, Sykes’ mother Tonia Rush said she believed the bails would have been lower if the crimes were on the South or West sides. “If it’s black-on-black crime, nobody cares,” she said.
Two 16-year-old also charged in connection with the attack on Sykes were also ordered held in custody Monday after appearing before juvenile court Judge Lori Wolfson.