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Evanston police called for assistance from Skokie and Chicago Sunday evening to respond to what started out as verbal confrontations between juveniles associated with two different gangs during the Jamaica Day Celebration Picnic in James Park.

Police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan says the dispute started at a playground in the park about 8:20 p.m. Police told the youths to stop, and they started to leave, but before the groups could be escorted out of the park more fights broke out and police called for additional backup units.

No one was arrested at the scene, but police know the identities of all the youths involved, Dugan says, and juvenile detectives will be following up on the incident, which may lead to charges being filed later.

The event, sponsored by the Evanston Cricket and Social Club, was scheduled to end at 9:30 p.m., but police ordered the music shut down around 8:40 p.m., Dugan says, because of the disturbances.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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14 Comments

  1. gang kids?
    If this was a confrontation between known gangs, then why were there no arrests made? Is gang violence okay for as long as it’s not “gun violence”?

    1. I’m told it was a judgment

      I'm told it was a judgment call, that it was safer — since the players were all identified — to just send them on their way rather than risk creating a larger confrontation amidst a large crowd of festival-goers by trying to make arrests on the scene. You notice the story says detectives will be following up.

      — Bill

    2. Pigsty after fest
      I went on my morning run through the park and it was a mess–bags of trash and litter everywhere. It was much worse than your normal Monday morning.

      A little later I saw city crews cleaning around Mt. Trashmore. Did the Sponsors of this festival pay for this? I am hoping the place is cleaned up tomorrow morning and that these folks don’t get a permit for this type of activity again. Fighting and trash is unacceptable.

      1. festival
        I agree. when groups contract to use city property, they are supposed to leave it in the same manner that they found it in….I’m sure the area was in good order for the event. I would hope that the city bills them, and then lets them know that they are no longer allowed to rent space..anywhere! No excuse for adults to leave a trash pit. And it had to be adults, because you have to be an adult to sign contracts.

        1. Please stop being judgemental
          Please stop being judgemental off of hear-say. If you did not see anything with your own eyes, leave the judgements at home. To the editor, if you would like to post after clean-up pictures, they can be provided if needed.

        2. Try putting yourself in their place b4 u judge
          I imagine the police officers who were ordering everyone to leave the park didn’t allow organizers a whole lotta time to clean up the mess. If you’re black, and you’re being ordered by police officers to clear the park, your life is endangered, so you clear the damn park. If you’re white, you might feel more comfortable clearing the mess before clearing the park but even then it kinda seems stupid to worry more about garbage than your safety.

      2. JA Day
        Good morning,

        I will assume that you are not aware that members of the organization went to the park at the next morning and cleaned up the park. All of the litter was picked up and placed in the garbage BAGS so the garbage truck can pick them up… seems logical right? All of the tents that were erected were taken down. Perhaps the “city workers” you think you saw were actually members of the organization cleaning up. The city workers that were there, were setting up for the breakfast and lunch program offered at James Park. For you to hope that a permit is not issued again is unwarranted. Diversity is what makes Evanston what it is, and this annual picnic is an expression of the cultural diversity that can be found in the city. Every year the organization cleans up after the event. The kids fighting have nothing to do with the event and if they were known individuals, there should have been more police support during the event, not after things got heated.

        1. Trash still there as of Tuesday AM
          Jamaica Day’s response already shows that the group was in violation of their permit. You can’t just leave garbage “BAGS” laying around the park. The park permit application requires putting garbage in containers. Waiting until the next day to deal with it is irresponsible and perhaps a violation of the permit. You also need a recycling plan for an event over 250 people.

          Well, I went on my run this morning and, lo and behold, there was still trash left from Sunday–near the tennis courts the conditions were pretty awful. This has nothing to do with diversity. It has to do with a private group not accepting responsibility for their negative impact on public space nor following city ordinances and procedures.

          I am wondering if this group even had a special event permit? Did they have a temporary food event permit? How was recycling accommodated at the event? Did the group carry liability insurance?

          The city council rubber stamps these festivals without really looking at the impact. In fact this same group couldn’t even get their application in on time in 2012 and the city approved it any way.

          1. You seem so pressed about

            You seem so pressed about something the city has neglected to do but yet you want to find a way to blame the organization prehaps you should keep jogging!  That should help you not be so stressed out!  This fest is no different from the Custer street fair or the art festival in which I have noticed the exact same thing that happens the day after a fest, trash left overflowing in garbage bins until the city picks it up! The police closed down the whole park and made everyone leave! So complain to the police about that! That's is their fault! No one got shot, injured, no violence a little fight amongst teenagers break out and the only one situation that has ever occurred at this festival. Police presence is there every year during the whole festival to monitor so please fact check while you acting like you know what you are talking about!!

          2. Contact your alderman and stop posting uninformed rants

            How do you know the terms of this group's permit with the City? Why don't you contact your alderman and find out rather than posting unsubstantiated accusations? The group has held this event in this park for several years, according to online posts. Perhaps leaving the trash in bags for city crews to pick up is part of its arrangement with the City. Perhaps not. But you've said nothing to suggest that you have any knowledge about it. After getting the scoop from your alderman, perhaps you can submit a fact-checked article about the issue to Evanston Now, along withe pictures of the situation–not from the very next morning at the crack of dawn when you were on your run, but from after the clean-up was completed.

          3. If there really is still
            If there really is still trash out, and it hasn’t been cleaned up yet, go take a picture. For good measure, also take a picture with the day’s newspaper, or a piece of paper with the time and date written on it.

          4. permits, etc….
            Thank you. You wouldn’t have said what you said, if you weren’t informed as to what was going on. You did not make uninformed rants…..sounds like sour apples from the group who booked the festival..and got called out about it!

          5. As reliable as Donald Trump

            Ummmm…. you're wrong. I swear someone must be paying you to make these comments. Your comments are as reliable as Donald Trump's. Let's assume that you have some intelligence for a moment. The following morning, you said you saw trash all over, did you also see the EXTRA GARBAGE CANS MARKED "SPECIAL EVENT"? These garbage cans placed at the park for the event and were full. The garbage bags were placed beside the garbage cans to be picked up. Again, this is logical right? Waiting until the next day is not irresponsible, we have until the next day to clean up. Trash by the tennis courts is not from the event, the event took place in the area between the playground/ concession stand and the small hill. There was no negative impact on public space and you are making assumptions. Seeing that the park is a public space, then you should be aware that residents are able to go to the park and BBQ, have birthday parties, etc. So… the answers to all your questions are YES to all… feel free to verify with the city. But you should know this already. You are contradicting yourself… you make a statement about a permit submitted late in 2012, but have no knowledge of a permit submitted for 2016? Seems like you are being fed pieces of information by a City employee. When you say "these festivals" what are you referring to… non-city events? Every resident has the right to hold an event at any public park as long as the proper channels are taken and rules are followed.

      3. The kids who were fighting

        The kids who were fighting were not there to celebrate the meaning of the event. Before the kids came it was a joy to be there. I am excited for next year!!

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