Chicago (CBS) — Chicago police have now responded two nights in a row to large groups of unruly teenagers causing trouble, and some CTA workers say they were placed in the middle of the chaos.
A CTA bus driver, who asked to stay anonymous, says police told dozens of rowdy kids to board his bus near 59th and Cottage Grove on the South Side Tuesday night. ”Police notified me they needed to load youth onto the bus to get youth out of the area,” the driver said. “Of course it turned to chaos.”
The driver said the “rambunctious” kids kicked the doors and told him “you’re holding us captive” and didn’t want to sit down.
He said he’s not sure why, but police stopped the bus at 63rd and Cottage Grove, where he saw a large police presence.
The driver said police opened the back doors and got the kids off one by one.
He said police cars had escorted him from 59th to 63rd, but no officers rode on the bus.
“Put someone on the bus with us,” he said. “Now you’re leaving the driver with all this responsibility: Operate the bus. Monitor the regular passenger and monitor these children all at the same time.”
Wednesday night, police said about 200 hundred officers responded to as many as 500 young people downtown.
CPD Chief of Patrol Divison Fred Waller said there were numerous fights, and one crowd was running from a fight.
When asked if police follow the kids, he said “As long as they are going towards the El or some type of public transportation, no. We don’t follow them.”
The president of the Local 241 Amalgamated Transit Union said, last night, police once again directed some of the kids onto a CTA bus.
Keith Hill said the driver said the kids were unruly and causing problems. ”We have no problem with dispersing large crowds,” Hill said. “We just want them (police) to ride the bus, follow the bus, and protect everybody on the bus.”
CPD spokesman Tom Ahern said CPD is open to talking with CTA about safety.
He said, if a driver feels threatened and requests and officer on board, CPD can provide that.
“We can’t provide transportation for everyone,” Ahern said. “We just encourage them to remain orderly when they are taking the CTA.”
CTA released a statement to CBS Chicago, stating in part, “CTA will continue to work cooperatively with CPD to identify ways to address these concerns, going forward.”