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After year's first 'large group' incident at Millennium Park, concerns mount about safety this summer

Concerns about safety in Millennium Park this season after 'large group' incident
Concerns about safety in Millennium Park this season after 'large group' incident 02:13

CHICAGO (CBS) -- About 150 teens took over Millennium Park Wednesday night – in the first "large group" incident of the season.

We have been reporting on such crowds for years at CBS 2 – but big changes were put in place after they turned violent last year, particularly one incident in May where 16-year-old Seandell Holliday was shot and killed right at Cloud Gate, or the Bean.

CBS 2's Tara Molina asked city leaders Thursday what is being done to keep people safe this year.

The summerlike weather this week brought out what we typically don't track until we're actually heading into the summer. We have learned that metal barriers are at Millennium Park to stay – as are restrictions put in place last year.

Officers were called at 10:08 p.m. Wednesday for a large group fighting in Millennium Park. A 16-year-old girl was taken to Lurie Children's Hospital with minor injuries, and was reported in good condition. No other injuries were reported.

The group was dispersed from the area, and the park stayed open until its usual closing time of 11 p.m.

Cellphone video captured the crowds of teens – and Chicago Police clearing them out.

"It scares the pants off of me," said Camille Jagger. "Knowing this kind of stuff is going on, and my kids could potentially be here."

Police said while there were fights that broke out, there were no arrests.

Police did not address our questions about safety plans heading into warmer months, or any new initiatives when it comes to dealing with young crowds like the one Wednesday night.

But such incidents are not new. After the May 2022 large-group incident in which 16-year-old Holliday was killed in Millennium Park, security checkpoints went up around the park at Mayor Lori Lightfoot's orders.

Meanwhile, a new rule required juveniles to have adult supervision after 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

"It just seems like the bad is ahead of the good - and we need to get the good ahead of the bad," Jagger said.

A spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events confirmed those same rules will be in place this year.

"It's a Band-Aid," said concerned parent Paul Thompson.

Thompson suggested the city prioritize helping young people find jobs, as a proactive solution.

"I think if we could give them constructive, productive, economically empowering things to do," he said. "That's a much better solution than throwing up guardrails and employing more security."

Spokespeople for the Chicago Transit Authority referred us to Chicago Police on this subject.

We also reached out to Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson's team for a response to these incidents and issues - and with regard any extra safety plans heading into the summer. We had not heard back as of the 6 p.m. hour.

Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events spokeswoman Madeline Long provided this outline on safety and security at Millennium Park:

Millennium Park is a safe and welcoming space for everyone.

Again this summer, guests will be required to enter all Pritzker Pavilion events (concerts, films and more) through special entrances off Randolph and Monroe streets. Visit Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain and other attractions via entrances off Michigan Avenue. More information at Plan Your Visit at

Also continuing in 2023, guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult (21 years and older) after 6pm, Thursday through Sunday — and may be asked to present a valid ID. The adult must be present for the duration of the visit and may escort up to four young people. For more information, visit Millennium Park Rules.

As in previous years, outside alcohol is not allowed for the following festivals: Chicago Blues Festival (June 8–11, 2023) and Chicago Jazz Festival (August 31 – September 3, 2023). For these events, alcohol at various price points may be purchased inside the venue. Before visiting, please be advised of these other Prohibited Items. For more details, see Attending an Event.

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