Mayor Irvin: 'Those looters didn't damage the true spirit of Aurora'
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin had two messages Monday.
First, he's proud of how residents came together to clean up areas of town damaged by looters and vandals Sunday night.
Second, people should think twice if they intend to try again to hurt the city he loves.
"Those looters didn't damage the true spirit of Aurora," Irvin said at a news conference. "I am still standing. Aurora is still standing."
But, "Aurora will be ready for you if you try to cause destruction in our community. We will not put up with this BS and foolishness."
As a black man born and raised in the United States, Irvin said he understands the anger and frustration many minorities feel about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as other race-related killings.
He said he was honored to speak at a peaceful protest Sunday afternoon in front of the police department.
"What I don't understand is how the numbers grew significantly, with people from outside Aurora using strategic (methods) to sow discord and crime," he said.
Police Chief Kristen Ziman said 17 people were arrested in connection with the violence and she expects more arrests to come as police continue to review videos and investigate.
Several detainees were processed in Kane County bond call Monday. As of midafternoon Monday, Aurora has not publicized who was arrested, or whether they lived in Aurora or elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Irvin enacted a curfew for the second day in a row, prohibiting all but essential workers from being on the streets from 8:30 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday.
He also announced the exits from I-88 to Aurora will be closed to nonresidents. The city later announced that all downtown streets will be closed until further notice.
Fire Chief Gary Krienitz said the building housing the Family Dollar store on East New York Street was destroyed by arson, but that the department was able to put out an attempt to set First Midwest Bank on Broadway on fire. He said it was difficult for ambulances to respond to other calls for service coming from areas of the unrest.
Ziman said other police departments helped fill in other areas of Aurora, including Sugar Grove taking calls on the west side of town.
Three owners of damaged downtown properties also spoke at the news conference. "The neighbors, they were protecting our business from the looters. It was quite amazing," said Crystal House owner Elias Akwo said.
"That should tell everybody something. That restores our faith in humanity and in Aurora. No matter what, we will prevail," said Harish Ananthapadmanabhan of JH Real Estate Partners, which owns 11 downtown buildings.
"We are going to make Broadway beautiful again. And that is because we love each other and we are a family," said Marissa Amoni, Downtown Aurora manager, speaking of the volunteers who came out early Monday to remove graffiti, sweep up glass and other debris and help businesses board up broken windows.
Irvin estimated property damage at $3 million.
Ziman confirmed that shots were fired at several squad cars. She said the department's Critical Incident Intel Center is looking for any threats. That includes monitoring social media.
When the CIIC was introduced in 2018, Ziman had said doing so could help the department learn about potential protests.
Ziman estimated there were roughly 800 people at the rally at the police department, and that the number grew to about 1,200 people downtown.