NATO protests in Chicago: Police van drives into protesters, web video reporters detained, held at gunpoint (photos+video)

Photo: C.S. Muncy

"Occupy" movement participants and an array of protest groups are among those gathering in Chicago this wekeend to demonstrate outside the NATO summit. Sunday, protesters are ramping up for the largest demonstration of the weekend. So are police and Homeland Security agents. Today, thousands of demonstrators are marching to the convention center where President Obama and other world leaders are meeting. Four men have been arrested on terror charges. Lawyers for the men now referred to by some protesters as the "NATO 4" claim undercover agents set up a bomb plot, and entrapped the suspects.

Photo: C.S. Muncy

Saturday night, at about 10:40PM local time, a Chicago Police van "drove into a crowd of demonstrators who were attempting to cross westbound over the Jackson Street bridge at the Chicago River," according to this video report and testimony from people who were present.

Chicago Police van number 6751, accelerated as it passed through the crowd, striking several people and seriously injuring one victim who was later transported to the emergency room. The extent of the victim's injuries are not known. The driver of the van made no attempt to ascertain the condition of any of the people that were struck. Witnesses watched as the van passed through the phalanx of police surrounding the scene and drove away from the area. Had there been a civilian driving, they would certainly have been charged with a hit-and-run on a pedestrian in the roadway and taken into custody once they had been apprehended. No order to disperse had been given to the crowd.

Also last night, a group of independent web video journalists report having been been harassed, detained, and handcuffed by Chicago police. They claim their gear was damaged and video documenting police attacks on protesters destroyed. Below, from the WeAreChange YouTube feed (many videos there from the Chicago protests):
Luke Rudkowksi, Tim Pool, Jeoff Shively, Dustin & Jess were driving home after covering a NATO protest in Chicago only to have their car raided by police.

And in related news: At the time of this blog post, there are reports that the City of Chicago website has been DDOS'd. Over the weekend, there were reports of other such DDOSes.

Follow the Chicago protests today as they unfold, with the livestreamers the Chicago police and Homeland Security are following: Tim Pool's web video stream, Luke Rudkowski's web video stream. On Twitter: Geoffrey Giraffe (@jiraffa), Tim Pool (@timcast), Luke Rudkowski (@lukewearechange).

Photo: C.S. Muncy


  1. we protested yesterday here in Torino and the only feedback we got was the enthusiastic iranian ambassador at the vatican state! my god in heaven!

  2. “Four men have been arrested on terror charges. Their lawyers claim undercover agents set up a bomb plot, and entrapped them.”

    First of all, I’ve read that these four had recently posted a video on police intimidation before the protests. So it may be retaliation for the video. Or it may be generalized criminalize-the-opposition, like the pre-protest arrests and bogus terrorism charges against the organizers of the 2008 St. Paul anti-RNC protests, or the pre-protest arrests before the 2000 anti-WB/IMF protests, where the police captured gazpacho soup and told the press the protesters were making pepper spray.

    1. I’m not sure how you can entrap a dude into making Molotov cocktails, though.

      “Seriously, I’m really thirsty and my car ran out of gas, get a case of beer, drink half of them and bring me some gas in the empties.”

      1. If gazpacho soup can become “pepper spray,” then beer can become “molotov cocktails.” Or they can just plant evidence, like they did to Simon Chapman.

        1. Nah, there were actual Molotovs involved, but now the defendants are saying it was entrapment.

          “The undercover officers, known to the defendants as “Mo” and “Gloves,” say they were with the defendants when they made the explosives and discussed the attacks. They say the men bought fuel, poured it into beer bottles and cut up bandanas for fuses.”

          These guys were also trying about 16 other people to help create distraction raids on other properties to keep the police busy.

          Out of the tens of thousands of peaceful legitimate protesters, they arrested some that seem they were actually here to do harm. Does it shock you that there might people willing to plan such a thing? Or do you just immediately distrust any arrest whatsoever?

    1. because thats worked so well in the past.  Peaceful protesters are NEVER beaten by the cops without provocation, they just get cop hugs and riot baton kisses!

      1. Sorry, i wasn’t trying to make it sound easy. However  your not fighting against the cops your fighting agaist the 0.001% we need to win ppl over not drive them away, this includes the cops who have been brainwashed with hate. If you can think of a better way then i’m all ears.

        1. Deprogramming might take quit a while if it is even possible for entire police departments across the continent. Haven’t people been trying to win over the populace for decades through safe conventional means? 

          1. Yes and it seems to have had positive results in the number of people who are now involved in occupy/anonymous/los indignos. as well as many other organisations. However this is not a fight about issues or policy or which side is right or wrong. this is good versus evil. simple as. if we bring violence in our hearts we will find it in the hearts of those they pit us against us. do not make this a game the 0.001% can place bets on to see who will win. their power is an illusion. break the illusion you break the 0.001%………if you look closely you can see the emperor is stark bollock naked!

  3. Hey caretakers of freedom and democracy these methods are so 20th century. I thought we left this behind, why do you not give these drones a spin against these pesky terror sympathizers. Works well in Pakistan and Yemen and your attorney general tells me it is totally OK to use them on your citizens.

    1. And 19 century and 18 century… Look at the history of how unions gained acceptance. People were radicalized in their favour when the government called in the troops to gun down the protesters. 

    1. See, my thought is “wtf is that cop doing, driving a vehicle through a group of people when there are other routes.”  The fact that there are people in the vehicle’s way is the fault of the driver, for driving into very large group of people.

      Also, those videos you posted appear to me to be different locations in a long series of confrontations.

      1. Never been to Chicago, have you?
        We’ve got a contingent of hipster cops here.  They’re kind of awesome.

        1. I’ve been there only a few times, and apparently I haven’t been to the right parts.

          Do the bike patrols have vintage 1970’s schwinns with baseball cards clothes-pinned to the wheel mounts? Or do they just use unicycles? 

    1. With or without lights and sirens, it’s still wrong to run people over.

      Where was he going that was so all-fired important that he had to light up and and blare sirens?  Perhaps he was responding to a hit-and-run, with injured citizens in peril? So he runs someone over on the way?

      The only emergency was created by the police themselves, as is so often the case with protests.  Not always, but all too frequently.

      1.  not quite. the van will have been ordered into the mess by someone. then the agent provoctors move in to cause problems banging on the van in order to scare the police officer into making a bad situation worse. please do not be blinded by the police officers faliure but look towards the wider game being played.

    2. When there is a mass of protesters behind me, I say to the officer, “you are malicious or a fool for choosing this route.” It puts people in harms way and should have been stopped by conscious decision from the officer. The people who were in front of the vehicle were probably full of adreneline — fucking car coming at me! And you’re in a crowd. Isn’t this like police shouting fire in a crowded theater?

  4. I’m a big fan of BoingBoing. Please don’t go the route of “If it bleeds, it leads” media. 

    I live in Chicago. I work in Chicago. I know I’ll probably get a few nasty comments for saying what’s on my mind.

    1. If you see an emergency vehicle driving down the street, and you’re in the street, you should step aside, especially if it has on flashing lights and maybe a siren. It doesn’t matter if they told you to disperse. 

    2. Why wasn’t it mentioned that someone slashed the tires of the van when it was moving through the crowd? I think that was an important part of the story. 

    3. The “Domestic Terrorists” that they arrested say they were framed. Come on. Seriously? The first statement their lawyer gave was that it was a big misunderstanding, and that they were “beer making supplies”. Who makes beer from molotov cocktails? Then they found the mortar. Now all the sudden it’s a giant conspiracy. 

    4. I am just going to go out on a limb here…if you don’t want to be harassed, maybe you shouldn’t have a car full of people with cameras driving slow and looking suspicious while there is a NATO Summit happening and heightened security. The city even removed solar powered trash compactors from the street.

    1. Are you missing the part where a police van (not an “emergency vehicle” like a fire truck or ambulance, just a cop in a van) intentionally ran into people, then sped away? Its tires were functional, and attempted tire slashing is not justification for hit-and-run.  If you’re driving a vehicle down the street, and there are people walking and/or standing in the street, you should wait for your intended path to clear, regardless of whether your vehicle has flashing lights and a siren.

      1. Here’s what I got from what you said:
         If a van that has a siren, flashing lights, police officers, and is clearly marked “Police” attempts to pull you over in a car, you shouldn’t stop because it’s a van? That doesn’t seem right.

        Now consider this: There is an angry crowd of a few hundred people, some of them pounding on the side of your vehicle, some of them slashing(according to CNN)/attempting(according to you) to slash your tires. One of them is possibly injured. In that environment, getting out to see if you can offer a hand wouldn’t be the easiest thing to do, or the smartest thing to do. The officer was making a judgement call for his safety.

        I’m sure there was a permit filed with the City for this protest on a Saturday night, after 10pm when the Noise Ordinance was in effect, that would give you full reason to be congregating in the middle of the street and obstructing a Police vehicle, then attempting to damage it.

        1. A smart driver chooses the route not impeded by 1000 people.  I don’t care if you’ve got lights and sirens on — are you the ONLY vehicle capable and the ONLY route is through these people?  I can’t see both of these being plausible in this scenario.   It is the driver’s job to find a safe route, not to cut through people exercising their 1st amendment right — to the degree that they antagonized the police, I’d say they exercised their 2nd ammendment rights too. Without presuming malicious intent from the driver, it’s still the police’s job to be smart about situations.

          Kevin: No really, there are always other routes. This is a grid city. The police maintain control of alternative routes one or two blocks away in every protest situation I’ve ever participated in. I’ve never seen a police van needed in a first response situation, a “traffic delay” would not harm anyone. I reject the idea that the van was needed in the middle of that crowd. Have you ever participated in protest?

          1. I’m sorry but you’re saying the driver should have found away around the crowd??
            Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for protesting and civil disobedience but your reasoning is fake. I do mean ‘fake’. Everyone knows, including yourself, that an alternate route may not (probably was not) available. Protesters don’t place themselves with traffic patterns in mind. For all you know, the van was trying to get to something/someone located at the center of the crowd.
            Also, it’s one thing to protest and prevent the authorities from removing you. It is entirely different to block someone from passing, authorities or not.
            In my opinion. :)

          2. Does anyone know if this occurred on a permitted march route, if it did, certainly the police might have found alternate routes

          3. It’s not a question of the route, it’s a question of driving safely, which police have to do even if they are policing a protest at the time.

            The only reason the van would have “accelerated as it passed through the crowd, striking several people and seriously injuring one victim who was later transported to the emergency room.” is deliberately.  Please don’t tell me that that’s reasonable use of force.  Was the officer in fear of his life?  What, was it an open-top van?

          4. …driving safely, which police have to do…

            Apparently nobody got that memo. Ever.

          5.  Given that this and other video footage shows people actively trying to impede the movement of police vehicles, it’s safe to say that there was no way around them- they were making it their business to be in the way.

        2. No, I’m saying that it’s misleading to call this an emergency vehicle.  It was not an ambulance heading to a medical emergency or a fire truck headed to a fire.  It was a cop in a van — a cop among a sea of other cops.

          Now consider this:  You’re wearing body armor, you have multiple weapons on you, you have a license to use them with impunity, and you’re inside a 4000-pound motorized steel shell.  You’re driving through the middle of a political demonstration that has been planned for months.  Several people beat on your vehicle with their bare fists.  Are you so frightened that the logical response is for you to accelerate with your giant battering ram into anyone in your path?

          I’m sure that a noise ordinance violation is not justification for vehicular assault and hit-and-run.

          1. I don’t think anyone is condoning what the police officer driving the van did. however you have to ask the question whom is steering the course of events in this situation. the driver of the van could have stopped the van got out and walked away. the protesters around the van could have been less aggressive and agitated towards the driver which would have taken away the cover needed for  more importantly the people with the most control and whom played the biggest part in steering the course of events, the people who bashed the side of the van and melted back into the crowd to watch events unfold in a quite predictable pattern.

          2. Anonymous933, I think that Lappy_CMD is condoning what the criminal in the van did.  I think you have to ask who is peaecefully walking down the street and who is operating a multi-ton piece of machinery.

        3. @twitter-582160128:disqus   ” I’m sure there was a permit filed with the City for this protest”
          So, it’s your contention that we need permission to exercise our right to assemble? As I remember it, our First Amendment says otherwise.
          You don’t need permission to exercise a right. That’s why they are called rights.

    2. 3. Both homebrew and molotov cocktails use empty beer bottles.  Can you link to the report of a mortar?  Are you sure it’s not fireworks, for the purpose of good ol’ fun?

      I hear about molotov’s getting confiscated ALL THE TIME but never hear about any being used, outside of Greece, like ever. They’re so easy to make, I think if people really wanted to, we’d be seeing the flames. But since I never see actions in the US where they’re used, it makes me suspect the police reports.

    3. 4. …looking suspicious …

      The harder I try to not look suspicious, the more suspicious I look. If you saw me now you’d think I was Henry Kissinger.

    4. Please don’t go the route of “If it bleeds, it leads” media.

      Sorry, Lappy. On a blog, even the banana posts start out on the leading page.

  5. Excellent advice the ‘should get out of the way when hearing wailing noise’ line. Should have told those people:

    On the question of responsibility:

    BBC News – Nato urged to investigate civilian deaths in Libya

    …argues that it cannot take responsibility because it has had no presence on the ground to confirm the deaths.

    Is not really a valid argument, If I shoot you in the head but I don’t look I am not responsible?

  6. More and more it seems these archaic ways keep up as backwards as ever as a race, considering we have the know how to create a more peaceful world, but even in the most “free” of societies we are bashed and prodded like cattle with the rest of them. Humanity need understand true freedom, and those in the wealthiest and freest of world nations must take a stand against the tyranny of state oppression, whatever it’s forms. Be that protesting NATO, or state run genocide. They are NOT the same in their horrors, but in principle they are understandably similar. It is HARM to others, it is oppressing others for your own benefit, it is destroying humanity from within. In all our progress we have not caught up, only thousands of years outside of caves we still dwindle in our hunter gatherer mindsets, almost forever it seems enslaved by our desires to mame, destroy, hurt, kill, and take away from others. I do not believe it true however that we cannot break free, but it is a hard road ahead, maybe the hardest road humanity has ever to face. It is looking itself in the mirror and asking WHO ARE WE? Are we mindless thugs and corporate employees following orders in a world of consumerism and greed? Or are we human beings, wanting to live our lives not just with happiness but “the good life”, a life full of opportunity, creation, creativity. Where be what you want to be actually holds true. Where working your ass off is NOT the only way to fulfill a life.

    Utopia? Many would say so (maybe others would say sounds like hell), such a skewed word. It seems optimism always is trumped by the pessimism of the masses not wanting to look forward, always keeping themselves locked away in their little box, waiting for the day that never comes where someone else will herd them to the good world, the better world.

    I do applaud those who try to change things, even if it’s a small step in a long winding road. I do not applaud police practices of this sort, it is simply not constructive. It is destructive (and a waste of human resources). If you want the world to be a better place (which I hope many would) these policing policies and actions are a step far in the wrong direction.

    1. “Half of Greece’s police force voted for neo-Nazi party”… :(
      ( i know the us aint greece…but ! …theres a pattern)

    1. China may be worse than the US right now, but I’d swear that China is headed in a better direction.

      1.  Yeah.. harvesting organs from prisoners on death row for religious or political beliefs is such a better direction.

        1.  I dont think it matters honestly, we’re imprisoning people without charges, we have state endorsed torture, we have state sanctioned killings of our own citizens (not to mention other countries’)  Whether we are any “better” or “worse” than China is completely irrelevant save for the fact that people are making the comparison at all–when that has begun, it should give  you a pretty clear idea that we’re heading in a very fucked up direction.

  7. Not commenting on the reasoning that goes into standing in front of an emergency vehicle.

    Particularly impressed by the quality of response in getting care secured for the dude on the ground.

    1.  Emergency vehicle? 
      There was an emergency other than that medical emergency caused by that van’s driver? 

      1. This sounds familiar.
        “What am I being arrested for?”
        “Resisting arrest.”
        “But what am I being arrested for?”

  8. Raise your hand if you know what a siren and flashing lights mean on an emergency vehicle humm no one, ok well it means get out of the way. If you are stupid enough to stand in front of a moving vehicle especially one with lights and sirens on then I suppose it’s darwinism at work.

    1. Kind of a Texas macho attitude toward things. Murdering of innocents seems to be a thing that’s becoming acceptable.

    2. Darwinism doesn’t mean what you think it means. 

      If you where stupid enough to blame the victim while standing in front of me , that also would not be called Darwinism.

    3. The point of non-violent protest is to get in the way of police. You are not supposed to cooperate, fool. A police van in a protest situation loses its status as an emergency vehicle because the van is there specifically to control the protest. It is the enemy. Find me a video of protesters attacking a fire truck or ambulance or STFU and take your ignorance elsewhere.

      PS Did you get that gold medal for eating cheeseburgers?

  9. I love all the one and done commenters here who clearly came from conservative blogs etc for the express purpose of trolling this thread. 

      1.  The TEA Party movement started out with vague protests, then evolved to organized protests with speeches and specific policy proposals, then evolved to grassroots get-out-the-vote and targeted support in strategic elections (talk to people in the Wisconsin recall about the army of TEA Party volunteers and the deluge of financial contributions small and large from TEA Party people across the country). People in Wisconsin trying to recall Gov. Walker WISH that the TEA Party movement were more like anti-NATO or anti-globalization or Occupy protesters. (To be fair there are exceptions in every movement.) If you want results, it’s time to make like a Pokemon and evolve.

  10. The difference between the cowards who come here to troll and me is that, when I troll, I bring home walleye.
    When they troll, their testes get even smaller~~you know, like cops who bully and beat on women and PROBABLY THEIR WIVES AND CHILDREN when they get home.

    1. You are correct on that point Ron. And as a horse lover, I hate to see these magnificent creatures used in this manner.

  11. I would love to see the occupy/nato protests conducted in silence to better demonstrate the attempts at manipulation. Silence and stares can be a powerful combination of weapons when it comes to violence.

    1. ?
      This is nothing compared to 68.  50 trust fund anarchists throwing things at cops and complaining when they get arrested is nothing like the 68 demonstrations.

      1. I think the difference is that today, the 50 trust fund anarchists are hooked up to millions of lap tops and smart-phones owned by people who agree with them. If I were a pool or 1%er , I’d be nervous.

  12. This protest is about as pointless as the protest of the DNC in 1968. What did McGovern/DNC have to do with the corruption of Nixon et al?  What does NATO have to do with the economic issues which caused the 2008 recession.  They’re both bogus.

    1.  lol.  You may want use “the google” and read about what NATO is and does.

  13. Did anybody notice at ~1:06 in the video, left side of the frame, where the protester/crowd control person blocks the lens of the photographer attempting to take pictures?  I guess the “Don’t photograph things unless I say it’s OK” attitude is present in more than just cops.

    I’m a former photographer.  I was first hassled by cops in, oh, 1976 or so.  Still, I only made my living at photography for a handful of my years on this earth.  I’ve been actively hassled only three times.  I’ve been physically assaulted just once (twice if you count the time they turned a firehose on me, but in that case I was far enough away for the water to be little more than a heavy rain).  Given all that, perhaps I don’t have sufficient “veteran” status to express an opinion – but I will, anyway. 

    When someone sticks their hand in front of my lens because they’ve decided that their sense of what needs to be recorded trumps mine then I tend to react badly.  I tend to assume they are in the wrong and trying to conceal something.  Given all the bad things the authorities have done recently to press and protesters with cameras, it’s pretty damn sad to see a protester doing the same thing to a member of the press.

    1. There have been increasing numbers of reports coming out of protests all over the place of black-bloc attacking photographers specifically. One way to interpret that is that a hooligan is afraid of getting identified by cops in the photos.

      Another way to see it might be hooligans afraid of getting identified AS cops in the photos. Either way, anyone trying to block photographers is presumably not honest about their intentions and message.

      1. Blocking photographers is incredibly honest about their “message”, the whole IDEA of a black block is to be as unidentifiable as possible, this is simply a response to the fact that with the proliferation of media and media technology, police departments and the state are using media documentation to identify masked folks…  I’m not sure what part of this you find to be dishonest.  You might be offended by it, but it is nothing if not honest and perfectly in line with their actions.

        1. What is dishonest is any suggestion that they are on the same side as the occupy movement, which is all about visibility.

          If they didn’t want to disrupt visible protests, they would act out their violent tactics elsewhere, and they wouldn’t be targeting citizen communications.

          They are seeking the spotlight.

      2. To both Jim Saul and occupyordie:  I wasn’t asking about black block-whatevers.  The person blocking the camera in the video (female, black bike helmet, face visible so apparently not trying to hide her identity) appeared to simply be one of the protesters holding back the crowd so that the injured person could receive aid.  Yet she didn’t try, initially, to move the photographer out of the perimeter for the safety of the injured.  As her first, instinctive act, she threw her hand in front of the lens to stop the photography.  He was clearly further away than some other spectators and did not need to be moved but, after blocking his lens, she then (it appears) told the photographer to move and closed the perimeter with him outside of it.

        He moved without an argument.  I would not have been so polite.  I almost certainly would not have punched her in the throat but the thought would have crossed my mind.  I definitely would, somehow, have found a way to deeply impress upon her that her actions were extremely uncool.

  14. When I was in school, I learned that when an emergency vehicle approaches with lights and siren, you get out of the way so it can pass.

    1. when i was at protests i learned that police and even ambulance vehicles just drove through the crowd intentionally (who usually let them pass) just to disperse the crowd. I have to say in Germany its a common tactic and nothing unusual and people do know that.  its not even about violence in that cases… people know that tactic is used by the police. …
       The sad thing about this event  is that everybody just talks about violence or no violence but not about why the protesters were there and why there are explicit reasons to even protest against the NATO. The decisions made in the past. (also concerning  behavior of local and foreign police towards crowds is a sad development )… people should read into what the NATO is actually doing, and why it still exists. Its Resources  and insurrection control. Simply defined by the status quo of western society. And this is done without conspiracy or whatever.
      One thing this incident made clear again. The media still wont cover the topic and take it apart ( 4th power in state) … its just to boring and u wont get clicks or readers. …

    1. How so?

      I read the article and all it really reveals is that the policeman managed to get a concussion while driving a van through a crowd. Sounds less likely than sustaining injury from being run over by a van, maybe that’s just me.

      Did it agitate the crowd? Of course it bloody did.

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