Police arrested 26 kids Wednesday night after a group of about 500 teens descended on downtown Chicago, forcing hundreds of cops into the streets to try to corral them.
Fighting, cellphone thefts and disobedience ran rampant as the group arrived in the city during the evening hours.
Approximately 200 police officers arrived on horseback, foot and bikes and made several arrests as the rowdy crowds spread throughout the busy streets and parks of the downtown area. Officers called in Chicago Public Schools principals to talk to some of the kids and try to help restore order, Chicago police Chief Fred Waller said.
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The largest of the groups dispersed and boarded Chicago Transit Authority trains, police said.
Police said 26 juveniles were arrested in the scene. The 20 boys and six girls face misdemeanors, though all were turned back over to their families, police said.
"The challenge is to keep the public safe," Waller said. "To make sure that the citizens who come to enjoy Chicago remain safe. The ones who don’t want to comply and don’t want to do the right thing, don't want to follow the law - they will be arrested."