Metro Weekly

Chicago Pride Parade Ends in Mass Arrests by Police

Fifty-three people were arrested, including 14 on felony charges, after impromptu post-parade parties spun out of control in Chicago.

The post-Pride scene in Chicago - Credit: normalguy246 on Snapchat
The post-Pride scene in Chicago – Credit: @normalguy246

Chicago police conducted mass arrests of Pride revelers in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood nearly 12 hours after the city’s annual parade ended.

The Pride parade ended between 1 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 30. It followed its normal route, starting at the intersection of West Sheridan Road and North Broadway and then headed down Halsted Street, in the heart of the city’s historically LGBTQ Northalsted area, weaving through the city’s Lakeview and Lincoln Park neighborhoods.

The parade draws large crowds to Northalsted and Lakeview, with the bars along the route packed. It frequently results in people drinking or dancing in the streets.

That revelry typically continues into the evening hours, a sticking point for some residents and business owners who have complained for decades that the parade draws a rowdy element to one of the city’s tonier environs.

Following the end of this year’s parade, some of the after-parties spun out of control.

According to Chicago ABC affiliate WLS-TV/ABC7 Chicago, police received multiple reports of people dancing on the tops of CTA buses and creating disturbances on side streets.

Police responded to the area near North Clark and West Belmont Streets in response to reports of people fighting on a bus.

As evening approached, police blocked off the 900 block of West Belmont, an area that has been the site of all-night after-parties in recent years.

According to the crime-centric news outlet CWB Chicago, a woman in the 900 block of West Fletcher Street confronted some of the Pride partiers, yelling that the sight in front of her was “disgusting” and demanded they leave “her” neighborhood. Members of the crowd shouted her down and tossed a drink at her in response. 

At 12:50 a.m., police declared two “10-1” emergencies — an urgent call for assistance from other officers — at the intersection of North Halsted and West Belmont Streets, where they clashed with revelers and recovered at least one firearm from the scene.

Around 1:23 a.m., police responded to reports of people jumping on top of cars and buses and throwing bottles in the 3000 block of North Clark Street.

Some people began throwing bottles at police, at which point officers began making mass arrests and tussling with intoxicated revelers whom they tried to detain. Some officers were injured in the fracas.

In total, police said 53 people were arrested, including nine juveniles. Police recovered four firearms from the scene.

The Chicago Police Department said 24 people were charged with various misdemeanors, including reckless conduct, battery, assault, resisting or obstructing an officer, and criminal damage to property.

Fourteen people, including four minors, were charged with felonies, including aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, or aggravated battery against a police officer.

Six people were cited for obstructing traffic, six for disorderly conduct, and one for both obstructing traffic and disorderly conduct. Another person was arrested on an outstanding warrant. Police told ABC7 Chicago that charges are still pending against two more people.

Around 1:42 a.m., a second “10-1” emergency requesting assistance was declared at the intersection of North Clark and West Belmont Streets. At least one attendee captured footage — subsequently posted on social media — of clashes between partiers and police, with some officers aggressively pushing or throwing individuals to the ground as they tried to clear the area.

“The Pride Parade yesterday was a safe and wonderful celebration of our diverse LGBTQ+ community, and it was such a joy to see so many people come out to show their support in the fight for equality,” Chicago Ald. Bennet Lawson (D-44th Ward) said in a statement responding to the mass arrests.  “Following the Parade’s conclusion, I was extremely disappointed to see disruptive actions in our neighborhood into the early morning hours.

“I am grateful to the Chicago Police Department for their quick and decisive action to limit any damage and keep people safe, and to the Streets and Sanitation Department for their great work to clean our neighborhood. I look forward to meeting with City departments and stakeholders in the coming days to discuss how we can continue to improve the Parade for participants, attendees and neighbors, and prevent these disturbing actions from occurring in the future.”

According to CWB Chicago, the annual Pride parade and its “after-party” celebrations spawned between 46 and 52 arrests each year between 2013 and 2015, the first year that the new outlet kept records.

Arrest totals dipped in 2016, with between 16 to 26 arrests reported each year since then. In 2023, 25 arrests occurred, with 21 adults and four juveniles taken into custody.

Those arrests have again left some Lakeview residents complaining about the raucous environment that seems to accompany Pride celebrations in the city.

“I obviously want people to celebrate Pride, to celebrate, have the parade with their community, but the people who come to just cause a ruckus, that aren’t a part of celebrating the LGBT community, it’s really disheartening,” Lakeview resident Meredith Maiorana told ABC7 Chicago.

Chris Karountzos, owner of the restaurant Modern Grill, told the news outlet she resents being along the parade route and has had to put up wood panels to keep people from breaking the windows after each annual Pride celebration. She said that the disorderly behavior of some Pride attendees detracts from the purpose behind the event.

“It used to be fun. It’s no longer fun,” she said. “We want to have fun. I think our versions of fun are just two completely different things.”

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