UPTOWN — A group of about 50 kids harassed motorists and damaged cars along West Leland Avenue in Uptown Monday night, according to neighbors.
Neighbors said the group walked down Leland from Clark Street to Racine Avenue, and one Uptown resident captured part of the chaotic scene on camera. (Watch the video below) The resident, who did not want to be named, said she was watching television at home when she heard screaming outside her apartment.
It was about 10:10 p.m. when she went to the window and saw "what looked like over 50 people, and they were kids."
"Nobody could have been over the age of 18," she said. "They were walking down the street, and then a car came through, and they all just pounced on the car, were beating on the car. And then the car went through and they cheered."
Watch the video here:
From there, the witness said she saw the throng of youth banging on parked cars and taking videos of the mayhem with their phones as they continued east on Leland. Some of the screaming, banging and car alarms can be heard on the video.
Reporter Adeshina Emmanuel says the kids were likely leaving a party just before the disturbance:
Police said they received a call reporting about 50 kids causing a disturbance in the 1400 block of West Leland Avenue about 10 p.m. No arrests were made, and the crowd dispersed when police arrived, most of the kids running eastbound, according to police.
"It looks like it was just a disturbance," said a police source. "A bunch of kids running around, screaming, yelling, hitting some of the windows on the cars, but there was no serious damage."
Neighborhood website Uptown Update posted on its Facebook page Tuesday morning an alleged account from an unnamed motorist claiming to have been driving east on Leland from Clark when about 20 to 30 of the youths swarmed the person's car, which the motorist "slowed to avoid hitting these kids."
"They started hitting and kicking my car and one of them opened my car door from the outside while another was grabbing at me...I managed to pull my car door shut as I accelerated a bit forward, still not wanting to run over any of these thugs and fortunately for me, the crowd parted as I pressed forward and I was able to get past them and they ran after me as I continued down Leland," the account said. "I also saw them assault other drivers, kicking and hitting their cars as they tried, and in some cases succeeded, in opening car doors."
Police couldn't confirm the account, and didn't report drivers being assaulted or car doors being opened.
The Uptown resident who took the video speculated that Monday's chaos, being called a riot by some neighbors, was perhaps connected to the Saturday shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, which has ignited angry protests in the town where the shooting occurred.
Whatever the cause of the incident, she stressed that increased community outreach to youth and more constructive dialogue about public safety in Uptown should be part of the response to what happened — not dehumanizing or violent rhetoric about the kids.
"I think it would be really cool if we could work with our alderman on some neighborhood outreach, and I think dialogue is important between the different communities," she said.
The office of Ald. James Cappleman (46th), wasn't immediately reachable for comment Tuesday.
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