Chicago police protests set for Black Friday

27 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chicago protesters plan to disrupt Black Friday shopping.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Community activists, elected officials, and many others planned to stage a Black Friday march on the Magnificent Mile, to protest the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer.

As Black Friday continues to promote the holidays with rampant consumerism and violent frenzies across America, the shopping areas of Chicago are facing additional pressure as protests continue over the death of Laquan McDonald. Laquan McDonald, whose name demonstrators have shouted for two days and will shout again during a planned rally to disrupt the city’s famed Magnificent Mile shopping corridor Friday, lived a troubled, disadvantaged life and had at least one previous brush with the law. Demonstrators are scheduled to march down the city’s Magnificent Mile, a retail-intensive area in order to call attention to brutality and the other factors believed to have contributed to McDonald’s death by police last year. While much Black Friday shopping will have been done hours before the rally begins, protest organizers said the point won’t be lost on merchants or City Hall. School officials and the McDonald family lawyer say there were signs Laquan was trying to get his life in order, though prosecutors say he had drugs in his system and was burglarizing cars on Oct. 20, 2014 — the night a squad-car video captured officer Jason Van Dyke shooting him. “It takes a while to get a life back on track,” said Thomas Gattuso, the principal at the alternative high school that McDonald was attending. “With Laquan, we unfortunately never got to finish his story.” Protesters and civil rights activists are demanding more investigations and police reform after Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder this week.

McDonald’s case sparked a controversy earlier this week when dash cam footage was released showing how he was shot 16 times by an officer who has since been charged with first degree murder. While the city protests have mostly remained peaceful despite their large sizes, the outrage continues over the city officials’ alleged mishandling of the shooting, such as how the video was kept from the public as long as it was. Protesters have called McDonald’s murder an execution, and accused police and prosecutors of a coverup, after the city resisted attempts to make the video public for months, and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez took more than a year to file charges against Van Dyke. Jesse Jackson and others have called for a “massive” march on Black Friday along Michigan Avenue, a swank downtown boulevard that’s normally packed with post-Thanksgiving shoppers. Protesters were reported by Time to be considering civil disobedience, such as standing in front of shops and similar acts to cause economic disruptions.

Bishop Larry Trotter, senior pastor of Sweet Holy Spirit Church, has endorsed Alvarez’s challenger, Kim Foxx, who said Alvarez took too long to charge Van Dyke with murder. McDonald’s family has appealed for calm, and his mother at least initially opposed the public release of the graphic dashcam video showing his death, attorney Michael Robbins said. Jesse Jackson said to NBC that marching during America’s biggest shopping day would focus the city’s attention back towards addressing the racial justice problems within the police department. “It’s not enough to focus on what brought us here today — the execution of this young man,” Jackson said. “That takes the scab off a deeper sore, a deeper cancer. That is your job,” Foxx xaid. “Right now, our whole city and our whole criminal justice system is under indictment, because the people who were charged with making sure he was held accountable did it in darkness.” Trotter planned to join several prominent religious leaders in Friday’s march on Michigan Avenue, including Rev.

Michael Pfleger, and others. “I think that there’s something poetically just about a kid who seemed to be the ultimate throwaway kid now bringing us to this crisis point and moment, when people in high places have to answer for their actions in regard to his tragic killing,” said Rev. McDonald’s mother had been making efforts to regain custody of her son before he was killed and had been granted permission to take a younger sister back into her home, Robbins said. We need accountability as to what happened.” “When we take to the streets on Friday we will show the city that we intend to disrupt its economic center as we call on people of good will to join us in our fight for justice for Laquan and other victims of questionable and unjust police shootings in our city,” Lewis said in a statement issued Thursday.

From around age six to 16, he lived with his great-grandmother and then stayed in the same house with an uncle after his great-grandmother died in 2014. Gattuso said McDonald took the initiative to attend Sullivan House High School, a school for at-risk students and high school dropouts between the ages of 16 and 21.

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