Update: Some of the charges mentioned in this story have since been dropped. Read the latest story here.
Seven protestors supporting the Black Lives Matter movement were detained by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) near Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus Aug. 29, public records show. They were released early Aug. 30, according to a public Instagram story posted by @ourstreetsluc, the group who’s been organizing the protests. There was no protest Aug. 30.
The protests — which have taken place on and around campus since Aug. 21 — have been calling for Loyola to better support Black students and cut ties with CPD, among other things, The Phoenix reported. This comes after a summer of protests across the country for racial equality following recent killings of Black people by police.
The protestors were arrested by police in the area of North Sheridan Road and North Kenmore Avenue — near The Mundelein Center for Fine and Performing Arts — according to Phoenix reporters at the scene.
In a tweeted statement, police confirmed seven individuals were arrested.
“CPD was at the protest ensuring First Amendment rights were facilitated,” a tweet from CPD stated. “Protesters locked arms and blocked the roadway. Due to public safety concerns, CPD issued several dispersal orders. 7 individuals, including one who struck an officer, refused to comply and were arrested.”
Shortly after the arrests occurred Aug. 29, @ourstreetsluc posted the names of those taken into custody, but the list has since been taken down. Public police records — which can be accessed by reporters and the public — show the names, ages and charges of those taken into police custody.
Four student protestors — 21-year-old Francesca Spizzo, and 19-year-olds Payton Winterhof, Dorien Perry-Tillmon and Trevion Johnson were arrested and charged with misdemeanor “pedestrians to exercise due care,” meaning they were reportedly standing in the street and refusing to use the sidewalks, according to CPD News Affairs Officer Jessica Rocco.
Winterhof and Perry-Tillmon declined to be interviewed by The Phoenix for this story, and Spizzo and Johnson didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Phoenix.
Valerie Creek, a 19-year-old Loyola student, was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors — pedestrians to exercise due care, battery causing bodily harm and resisting/obstructing a peace officer, according to CPD News Affairs. Police said Creek “refused to disperse” after dispersal orders to clear the roadway and “attempted to defeat her arrest” by “stiffing her arms and locking arms with other co-arrestees.” Creek eventually fell to the ground and “kicked an officer in the leg,” according to News Affairs.
Creek declined to be interviewed by The Phoenix for this story.
Liliana Silva, another 19-year-old Loyola student, was arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor resisting or obstructing a peace officer and two other misdemeanors — pedestrians to exercise due care and battery causing bodily harm, according to CPD News Affairs. Police said Silva “refused to disperse” after several orders and “began yelling and began throwing punches at an officer hitting him in the arm twice.” Police said she “thrashed” in an attempt to “defeat arrest,” as officers attempted to take her into custody.
Silva didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Phoenix.
Patrick Beale-Delvecchio, 19, was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors — pedestrians to exercise due care and obstructing an officer. CPD said Beale-Delvecchio “refused to disperse,” after several orders and “attempted to stop an officer from effecting an arrest on a co-arrestee by grabbing the co-arrestee by the arm,” according to CPD News Affairs.
Beale-Delvecchio, who’s not a Loyola student, declined to be interviewed by The Phoenix for this story.
Colleen Trzybinski, a sophomore, was at the protest and took the lead after police detained Perry-Tillmon, a main organizer. Trzybinski told The Phoenix Aug. 29 police “claimed the protest was over” after some protestors started to disband.
“They did give us a dispersal order which is by law what they should do, but we know they’re not very good at following the law,” Trzybinski, 19, said. “White allies went to the front and we had people of color in the back. Anyone who wanted to leave could leave because I understand bail is not cheap, jail is not easy. We had our arms linked and that’s when they started coming at us.”
Trzybinski said the protestors were able to hold out for what seemed like a long time, but eventually, the police broke through their linked arms and began detaining people, beginning with the protest’s organizers. She said one of the people arrested was “thrown to the ground with excessive force.”
At that point, Trzybinski said she and some others went to the sides of the street. Shortly after, she said she and another protestor went back into the street to record video of the badge numbers of officers who weren’t wearing masks as they’re required to in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Trzybinski said she herself was put in a chokehold by officers.
“It’s really hard seeing your friends, the people that are basically becoming your family that you’re out with every day, thrown on the ground,” Trzybinski said. “I’m just angry, enraged. I’m upset, I’m tired, but I’m still going to be out here because I need to be.”
In response to student allegations of officers throwing them to the ground and putting one in a chokehold, CPD News Affairs said: “CPD holds its officers to the highest professional standards. We are committed to ensuring First Amendment Rights, while also protecting public safety. Those who are alleging misconduct by officers can file a complaint with COPA. If any of these allegations are sustained, those involved will be held accountable.”
When asked about allegations of officers not wearing masks, CPD News Affairs said all officers are required to wear masks, but “given the heightened activity that officers have been responding to in the past weeks, there may be situations in which officers may not have masks.”
“Participants in demonstrations are responsible for ensuring proper social distancing for themselves,” CPD News Affairs said in an email to The Phoenix.
Some protestors have asked The Phoenix to remove its Twitter videos of the protests and arrests taken by reporters at the scene Aug. 29. Videos haven’t been taken down and members of @ourstreetsluc declared a moratorium on speaking with Phoenix reporters in the future as a result.
Representatives of Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney didn’t answer multiple questions about the protest, the arrests and whether the students will face potential discipline.
Opinion Editor Rylee Tan contributed to the reporting of this story.