Judge Asks: Why No Protests for Children Shot Down in Chicago’s Streets?

27 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chicago Protesters Say It’s More Than The Police Video — “It’s About Class”.

Judge Peggy Chiampas watched as her courtroom, filled with local and national news reporters, protesters and activists, emptied on Wednesday afternoon. They assembled for Malcolm London, a poet and activist, arrested in the first night of the Laquan McDonald protests and accused of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

McCarthy said his department was preparing for the worst but not expecting it: “We are not predicting doom and gloom, we are predicting protests”. Holiday lights adorned storefronts, shoppers clutched bags from Nordstrom and the Apple store — and a group of young demonstrators carried “Justice for Laquan” posters and chanted “16 shots!” The demonstrators were referring to the number of bullets police Officer Jason Van Dyke fired into Laquan McDonald in less than 15 seconds. The shooting happened in October 2014, but demonstrations erupted this week when Chicago law enforcement authorities — which have a long history of police brutality against black residents — charged Van Dyke with murder and released video footage showing the officer firing upon the 17-year-old while he was on the ground. Charges dropped, the judge told him, “you are free to go.” Because what came next on the docket, what few stayed to see, is the human tragedy that unfolds on Chicago’s streets every day of the year — gunshots thrown with reckless abandon by warring, armed thugs and innocent victims wounded or worse by their stray bullets. In the case coming before Chiampas this time, we count an 11-year-old girl among the wounded, shot while walking down South Sangamon Street in Auburn-Gresham with her cousin in August. “Why don’t we have every single press person in the room for this case?

For an 11-year-old child?” Chiampas demanded, her voice rising, according to the DNAinfo Chicago reporter who stayed behind as the others left. “Why aren’t there people protesting outside for this case?” The man accused of firing those shots, Cordero Harris, 27, went on the lam, but cops tracked him down in Iowa and brought him in on Monday, DNAinfo reports. When asked if he comes to the Mag Mile often, he chuckled, shook his head and said “absolutely not.” Wearing a Looney Tunes jacket and short dreads, he described how the downtown area the protesters were trying to disrupt Wednesday is mainly for “rich people – people with money” who do not feel the same pressures from police as black people do in Chicago. Demonstrators chanted “16 shots”, “don’t shoot” and held banners reading “Laquan needs justice”, “stop police brutality” and “black lives matter”. Another video released Wednesday from a cop auto that arrived at the scene after the shooting showed the dying teenager lying in the four-lane highway. There seems to be several protests in the works, and members of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network of Chicago passed out flyers Wednesday night calling for a gathering at 11 a.m. on Michigan Avenue.

A number of demonstrators also told BuzzFeed News they they were not just protesting because of the video, but because it’s time for the Chicago Police Department to change its methods. “We’re here to push against the hypocrisy of someone being arrested within 24 hours — but it took more than 400 days to arrest [Van Dyke], even when they had the video,” said Melissa Duprey, referencing the Tuesday night arrest of Malcolm London – a well-known activist. Throughout the night the crowd chanted the names of other people who died in police interactions across the country – Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has endorsed a “Black Friday” march, organized by civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson, to protest McDonald’s shooting.

During the chants, cars on the street honked their horns in support with many drivers rolling down their windows to fist-pump the protesters. “I grew up here,” said Rachel Williams. “This is what cops know. One day later, an 11-month-old baby, Princeton Chew, was hit in a flurry of two dozen gunshots, and the little boy’s pregnant mom and grandmother were shot, too, mortally wounded in front of their home in the Back of the Yards. Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ records show that Laquan McDonald was a ward of the state when he died, having spent years being shuttled between different relatives’ homes and foster care from the time he was 3. The Chicago shooting charges followed more than a year of unrest across the United States over police shootings of black men that was sparked after the August 2014 killing of unarmed Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri. When protesters reached Millennium Park, some hopped over barriers set for Thursday’s thanksgiving parade and at one point a group began tearing the lights off the city’s Christmas tree — lit in a ceremony not long after Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared with police officials to discuss and release the video.

While tugging at the lights, some protesters yelled that Chicago police officers cared more about protecting public property – like the tree – on the “nice” part of town than protecting black lives. On the day after Thanksgiving, when the rest of the nation watches, they should know this, too: Bountiful are Chicago’s tragedies, manifold are the injustices.

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