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Protests Jam Midway Airport Traffic To 'Share The Pain' Of Police Brutality

By Mae Rice in News on Dec 18, 2015 7:40PM

Protestors jammed traffic around Midway airport Friday morning in an effort to draw attention to police brutality and corruption in Chicago.

The protest took place around 10 a.m., and briefly stopped traffic on Cicero Avenue, reports ABC7. The protesters aimed to exacerbate travel-related holiday traffic jams by blocking the road with cars and their bodies.

The effort—which Willie JR Fleming, protestor and executive director of the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, said was a collaboration between more than 20 local organizations—broke up when the police arrested one of the protest drivers, Fleming said, though police had no record of the arrest.

Fleming estimated that the protesters used 25-30 cars to slow down Midway traffic.

Ravi Baichwal, of ABC7, tweeted photos of the protest:

“We just want to share the pain that the black community is experiencing right now,” said Fleming of the reasoning behind the protest.“We want people to suffer economically… taxpayers have [already] been suffering, paying out almost half a billion dollars in police misconduct settlements over the past decade.”

Fleming and his fellow protesters hope that by adding to the city’s “financial crunch”—which has affected schools more than police brutality settlements, in his view—and force resignations from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, Fleming said.

He added that beyond specific resignations, the protestors hope to push the Department of Justice to expand its investigation, so that it covers not only Chicago Police Department practices but also the contracting practices of city council and the mayor’s office.

“I don’t want to leave out the disability community that came out in their wheelchairs, also,” Fleming said of the Midway effort.

That protest is part of a trio of coordinated protests going on in Chicago today. Another one will take place at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse, where Laquan McDonald’s killer, Officer Jason Van Dyke, is scheduled to appear around noon. The third is scheduled for Daley Plaza at 3:16 p.m.—the “16” to commemorate the 16 times Van Dyke shot McDonald.

Though the Midway protest happened to coincide with Van Dyke’s court date, Fleming said that was an accident. It was originally planned for today, he said, to disrupt holiday traffic, and to honor that this month marks the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

Protests today come on the heels of Black Friday protests with a similar mission on the Mag Mile.