Hundreds of strangers rally to replace $10,000 in equipment damaged by police
In a display of solidarity, hundreds of individuals have come together to support a young Mexican band whose equipment was damaged during a recent scuffle with the Chicago police.
The incident unfolded when the band, found themselves in a tense confrontation with law enforcement officers during an unoffical public event in Chicago. Amidst the confusion, their musical instruments and sound equipment suffered significant damage.
The Mexican group El Malo, hailing from Chicago's South Side, set up an impromptu stage on the corner of 49th Street and Pulaski Road, and began to play. A crowd quickly formed of people singing, cheering, and dancing.
The band was performing the song "Pelotero a la Bola" around midnight. During their performance, a contingent of police officers, armed with shields and batons, started forcibly clearing the area of Mexican Independence Day celebrants. They swiftly approached the band.
During this encounter, law enforcement disconnected the sound equipment. As the band members and the gathered crowd resisted, the band's recently acquired speakers, audio mixers, and a tololoche—an instrument with traditional roots in southern Mexico—sustained damage.
“I’m so disappointed and sad,” said Pedro Marroquin, group manager. “We were raised to respect authority because they protected us; that didn’t happen, they didn’t even let us speak, there was no need to break our instruments.”
Marroquin was allegedly hit with a police shield in the scuffle and spent a day in the hospital. He said he understood that the police needed to disperse the crowd but wishes they'd done so peacefully.
“Officers assume we will fight back or that we won’t comply, that’s unfortunate and it makes things worse,” Marroquin said.
Marroquin claimed that neither the band nor the crowd resisted. However, the brawl was caught by some at the event and it shows that when the police started to make their way towards the band, band members and members of the crowd surrounded them and shoved them back. It is unclear whether the band had the appropriate permits to perform, construct a stage or play to that large of a crowd.
Whatever adversity the band faced, their story quickly spread through social media and news outlets, prompting an outpouring of generosity from both the local community and sympathetic individuals around the country.
Chicago residents and music enthusiasts from afar opened their hearts and wallets to assist the young musicians. The contributions have poured in, enabling the band to replace their damaged equipment and continue pursuing their musical dreams.
The positive response from the public has not only restored the band's confidence but has also provided them with renewed hope for their future endeavors. The band members expressed their gratitude for the overwhelming support, emphasizing that it has given them the strength to persevere.