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Protesters Shut Down McCormick Place Streets During Policing Conference

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 26, 2015 2:17PM

Hundreds of community activists marched through the city’s South Side to McCormick Place while dozens shut down several intersections around the building on Saturday to call for police accountability and community investment.

The demonstrations were held surrounding the 22nd Annual Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the largest meeting of police chiefs in the nation. As hundreds marched from Chicago Police headquarters at 35th Street and Michigan Avenue to McCormick Place, several groups locked their arms together with pipes and managed to shut down area intersections, along with one group that did the same inside.

“Together, we’re organized to demand that our lives, our communities and our futures be made a priority,” read a statement from Black Youth Project 100, one of several organizations making up the coalition which organized the actions. “The police chiefs who belong to the IACP, and their local departments have a debt to pay for the lives and the resources they’ve stolen and we’re here to collect.”

The groups organizing the demonstrations sent out several lists of demands of the IACP, which include “investments in Black communities that promote economic sustainability and eliminate the displacement of our people,” an end to “for-profit” criminal justice and punishment, guaranteed income, living wages and an end to discrimination of workers and more. On Friday, they also called for the demilitarization of police departments and more powerful community controlled oversight boards of police departments.

“If you are going to invite 16,000 cops to our city after shutting down 49 schools, half of the mental health clinics and allocating 40 percent of the budget to the police...they don’t get to do that and stay quiet,” said Page May, a community organizer and member of the group We Charge Genocide.

In total, 66 people, 47 women and 19 men (CPD does not recognize non-binary or other gender identifications), were arrested throughout the day, most for obstructing traffic. One demonstrator was arrested for climbing a flagpole outside McCormick Place and raising a flag that read “Unapologetically Black,” which the Chicago Fire Department later took down to a chorus of boos.

Organizers had harsh words for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who spoke at the convention that day, along with his budget plan to put more more money into CPD and more cops on the street.

"The Mayor sucks resources necessary for us to thrive out of our community and replaces them with more cops who will do nothing but inflict harm and terrorize us," said Maxx Boykin, an organizer with BYP100. "We need to fund Black futures, not more cops."