By Peter Nickeas
CHICAGO — Four Chicago police officers were injured and a squad car was damaged when a fight broke out among a large crowd that had gathered for a concert near Montrose Beach, officials said.
At least 10 people were arrested as police worked for 90 minutes Sunday night to bring the crowd under control and close the park, which was strewn with broken glass, officials said.
Two of the officers were hit with bottles. One of them suffered a cut and was treated at Weiss Memorial Hospital, officials said. The other complained of pain and dizziness and was treated at the scene. Two others were hit by debris but refused treatment, police said.
The crowd had gathered Sunday evening for a concert but the bands didn't have permits to perform in the park, police said. Word of the concert had spread through social media, police said.
The melee started about 7:30 p.m. when six officers on bicycles waded into the crowd to break up a fight, police said. A call soon went out about a "man with a gun" and officers began searching for the man who matched the description on the police radios, officials said.
At some point during the search, people in the crowd started throwing bottles, rocks, cans and other objects, police said. A supervisor ordered the officers out of the crowd and a "10-1" call was broadcast on the police radios, code for officer in need of assistance.
The purpose of the call was to make sure all officers were accounted for and treated for any injuries, officials said.
The 10-1 brought officers from districts as far west as O'Hare International Airport, as far north as the border with Evanston and as far south as 31st Street. Police from Jefferson Park, Albany Park, Shakespeare, Rogers Park, Lincoln, Near North and Central districts all responded, along with detectives and specialized units that patrol the city.
Police regrouped by a bait shop within the park and formed "skirmish lines" generally two officers deep to push the crowd north and then west. A police helicopter also responded.
During the scuffle, a police car was hit by bottles and other debris, breaking windows. Two of the injured officers were from the Town Hall district, the other two from the Lincoln District to the north.
"Everybody got serious, throwing bottles, throwing beer. It was horrible," said Jasmine Mejias, 18, who recorded the fight and posted the video to YouTube. "Once everybody spread out, they started throwing huge liquor bottles, cans, a lot of people got hit.
"One of my friend's cousins got hit on the head," said Mejias, who lives in the Clearing neighborhood on the Southwest Side. "Everybody's like all riled up, so you see these gangbangers, they're different kinds of gang, so they're fighting on the other side.
"Everybody was running so quickly, I was literally trying not to get in the head," Mejias said. "There was probably 10 bottles thrown at once in every direction. It was really hard to dodge any of it, to be honest, especially when you're trying to run away."
Mejias said she thought she would be safe on Montrose Beach. "You wouldn't expect any of that. That's why I didn't mind going."
Felony charges were pending against two men for aggravated battery to a police officer and two others for aggravated assault to a police officer. Six others faced a variety of charges.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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