• CHICAGO PROTESTS

Live Updates: Chicago Protests and Unrest

Weekend arrests threaten to push up jail population, raising concerns about COVID-19

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said over 1,000 people were arrested in the unrest in the Chicago area over the weekend. That likely means a spike in the jail population, which has been one of the largest COVID-19 hotspots in the country. About 550 detainees there have tested positive, and seven have died.

The jail has been under a court order to take action to stop the spread of the disease. In a court filing last month, Dart, who runs the jail, said that if there was a sharp increase in the population, he would have trouble complying with court orders on social distancing.

But in a press conference Monday, Dart said he would hold people sent to the jail.

“We will make sure that they’re safely separated from the COVID[-19], as well as we can do in that congregate setting, but … just because of the issues with COVID[-19], it doesn’t mean that there’s an ability where people are going to be able to walk free,” he said. “That’s not going to happen.”

Dart said he did not know how many arrestees would be released on bail and how many would be detained.

Activists have been calling for the release of people arrested during protests. In a statement on social media, the Chicago Community Bond Fund said Dart was showing “ indifference to police violence & Black pain.”