Activists with World Can’t Wait were among the thousands who shut down North Michigan Avenue, the elite shopping district of Chicago, for more than four hours on “Black Friday,” November 27, rocking the street with our demands for “Justice for Laquan” and an end to police murders.
Three days earlier, the Chicago Police Dept. (CPD) had been forced by court order to release the video of the police execution of 17-year old Laquan McDonald more than a year ago, in October 2014. The film of one officer pumping 16 shots into the teen as he lay on the ground is shocking, and it completely contradicts the story the CPD had been telling for 14 months. Suddenly the same day the video was supposed to be released, the prosecutor decided to close her investigation and indict the officer involved for first degree murder, the first time this has happened in decades in Chicago. The active collusion of the CPD, the prosecutor, and the Mayor’s office to cover up this crime has now come to light and sharply divided public opinion and elected officials alike, almost all of whom are Democrats in this city and county.
Protesters came to North Michigan Avenue from every section of the city and society – Black and Brown young people from the South and West Sides who are rarely seen in this upscale shopping district, whole church congregations, students, and a showing of middle class white folks as well. The protest was endorsed by Jesse Jackson’s PUSH organization and the Chicago Teachers Union, which fought Rahm Emanuel, the Mayor of Chicago, when he closed 50 public schools in overwhelmingly Black and Brown neighborhoods. There was a tremendous spirit of cooperation among the protesters as we shut down the streets and the stores. The police were out en masse but took a very low profile in contrast to their usual practice of making arrests simply for stepping into the street at police brutality demonstrations.
Protests went on into the night and over the weekend, with every indication that they will continue to demand justice for Laquan and all victims of police terror. Click here for photos of the protest from The Chicagoist and here for an in-depth report from Revolution newspaper.