Chicago saw its deadliest weekend of gun violence this year as protests, riots, and looting continued to rock the city after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
A total of 24 people were killed and at least 61 injured by gun violence, more than half shot on Sunday. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said that 17 of the gun deaths occurred on Sunday alone.
The deaths included many younger people, including several 18-year-olds and victims in their 20s. Among those injured were a 15-year-old and three 17-year-olds.
During the same weekend last year, a much smaller number, 52 people, were injured by guns, eight of whom died. Gun violence in Chicago also spiked last weekend: 10 people were shot fatally and 39 more were injured during the city’s deadliest Memorial Day weekend in five years. A 16-year-old boy was among the victims.
Both peaceful protests and riots broke out in Chicago during the last week of May in response to the death of Floyd, a black man, who died in police custody after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for about nine minutes, including after Floyd passed out. Riots have continued through both subsequent weekends in several other metropolitan areas around the country, including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.
Hundreds were also arrested as rioting continued and police enforced the city’s curfew.
Last weekend’s gun violence evoked memories of the demonstrations of 1968, when rioting and looting spread across Chicago after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The one difference, in ’68 it was by and large the African American community. In 2020, this is whites and blacks. In fact, there are more whites than blacks involved in these demonstrations than blacks across the world,” said Martin Luther King, III, King’s son. “The world has been impacted by this incident.”