Only 1 person arrested following Breonna Taylor protests in Chicago, cops say

A 20-year-old man accused of lighting a couch on fire, running from police and carrying drugs was arrested following a Palmer Square protest held after a Kentucky grand jury handed up charges against only one police officer involved in Breonna Taylor’s fatal shooting, Chicago police said.

No one else was arrested and charged in the Chicago protests, police said.

Gavin Palm, of the 4600 block of North Lawndale Avenue, was arrested on suspicion of two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance, amphetamines and another narcotic, and on the misdemeanor public peace violation of reckless conduct related to setting ablaze a couch, according to Chicago police spokeswoman Karie James.

Chicago police arrested Gavin Palm, 20, on suspicion of two felony counts related to possession of a controlled substance.

Chicago police arrested Gavin Palm, 20, on suspicion of two felony counts related to possession of a controlled substance.

Surveillance video showed Palm had been taking part in a protest that began in the east end of Palmer Square Park and drew an estimated 300 people before continued into the nearby Logan Square neighborhood, where Palm was confronted by officers, according to police.

There also had been separate protests beginning at The Bean in Millennium Park and at 79th Street and Racine Avenue. No one else was arrested at any other protest, James said, despite some apparent vandalism, including when the Illinois Centennial Monument in Logan Square was spray-painted, including, according to photos from the scene posted on social media, with “BLM” and “Taylor.”

Surveillance video showed Palm participating in the Palmer Square protest, James said. He also could be seen on surveillance video “igniting a couch causing it to burn after it had been placed into an intersection on a busy street,” she wrote in an email. No one was reported injured as a result of the fire.

When police confronted Palm in the 1900 block of North Western Avenue just after midnight Thursday, “he then fled on foot dropping his backpack which contained a torch lighter and narcotics,” James said.

James was not able to say whether the torch lighter was used to ignite the couch or whether any accelerant, such as lighter fluid, was used. She said the backpack contained two types of narcotics, amphetamines and synthetic drugs, but said she could not be more specific.

When officers tried to stop Palm he took off running, leading them on a foot chase for just over 10 minutes, according to authorities. He was arrested in the 2400 block of West McLean Avenue, also in Logan Square, about 12:15 a.m.

Palm was expected in court for a bond hearing later Thursday, James said.

There were no other incidents that led to arrests at any protests, which collectively drew an estimated 500 people. They were quickly organized following a grand jury’s decision to file a charge against an officer on suspicion of shooting into neighboring apartments but not to file charges against any officers in the shooting death of Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

City officials late Wednesday announced that the Emergency Operations Center had been activated and the city deployed more than 300 city vehicles across Chicago “to protect neighborhood commercial corridors and critical businesses in the event of potential public safety incidents.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker each criticized the grand jury’s decision and said they expected civil unrest as a result, while also urging protesters to make their anger and disappointment known peacefully.

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