"We’re not going to let people have parties in the middle of the street. Our plan is to keep people inside the establishments."
— Chicago Police Sgt. Jason Clark on June 12 on the security plan for Stanley Cup celebration.
Well, I guess the plans changed.
When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, police officers dispatched to keep the partying "in the establishments" had no choice but to stand back and watch as fans flipped over police barricades and took over Clark Street in Wrigleyville.
From every bar and every side street, fans streamed toward Wrigley Field.
Against my better judgment, I was there when Hawks fans shot off fireworks, sprayed each other with champagne and cheap beer and generally molested each other in joyous celebration.
Drunken gals in short skirts climbed atop broad-shouldered men to hoist inflatable Stanley Cups. One guy celebrated by marching through the crowd waving a giant, leafy tree limb.
But overall, police had the madness contained — if not controlled — until a little after midnight when police lined up 18 horses at Clark and Addison and started marching south to disperse the crowd.
"One horse moves 500 people," a beat cop from Austin told me. "And they move them with their bodies."
Soon, Clark Street near Wrigley was cleared, but the celebration didn't end. Fans headed west on Addison, down the side streets, and at police horse urging, south on Clark Street.
That's when the especially rowdy revelers marched into Lincoln Park and busted about 50 windows at 31 stores.
"When they all got kicked out of Wrigleyville, they were on a parade all the way over here," said Virgin Mobile District Manager Edgar Cervera, who responded to a burglar alarm after 1 a.m.
"They were throwing glass bottles at the windows. … I don’t understand the concept where they have to destroy property," he said. "But it is what it is."
On Tuesday morning, Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) surveyed the destruction.
"My real outrage is at whatever group of Blackhawks fans needed to celebrate the victory by wrecking other people's stuff," Smith said. "Do people really need to be rioting after a ballgame? Get some perspective about what life's all about."
Virgin Mobile Area Manager Kevin Brennan said that when Smith stopped by his shop she wasn't very happy that there was no police presence.
Later, the 43rd Ward boss told me that "Of course it would have been better if there were more cops" keeping an eye on Clark Street in Lincoln Park after the mounted patrol pushed folks that way from Wrigleyville.
Smith said she complained to police brass about that and was told detectives would review surveillance cameras, canvass the area try to catch the partying vandals and determine what could have been done to stop it.
But she can’t beat up the Police Department too much when a bunch of sports fans act like fools.
"Their behavior was completely outrageous. It's unfortunate I have to ask for increased police presence to protect ourselves from outrageous fans," she said. "People who did the damage should come forward and do their part to repair the damage they did."
All the damage — likely more than $50,000 in busted windows — gives a little perspective on dealing with the increasing number of wild parties near the expanding party zone around Wrigley Field.
"It does support what Ald. [Tom] Tunney is trying to do and the people he's supporting in Wrigleyville. Because if Wrigley Field expands and the parties get even bigger, what happened really shows how much security we're going to need," Smith said.
"If this is what happens after a Blackhawks victory, what might happen if the Cubs win the World Series?”