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Chicago Plans Protests For Shooting Deaths Of Philando Castile And Alton Sterling

By Gwendolyn Purdom in News on Jul 7, 2016 6:25PM

Chicago activist groups are planning at least two Thursday night protests in response to the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile—two black men killed by white police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. Graphic videos of the shootings have spread across the internet over the past two days.

Stop Mass Incarceration Network Chicago shared details on Facebook about a protest the Revolution Club is organizing Thursday evening at State and Jackson streets in the Loop and another group calling for Chicago Action Against Police Brutality will be meeting at 5101 S. Wentworth Ave. near Washington Park on the South Side, according to a separate Facebook event page.

Outrage continues to grow over the latest high-profile police shootings of black men, in a long list which included Laquan McDonald in Chicago, Eric Garner in New York and Micheal Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, among others. In a statement released Thursday, Saint Paul Public Schools called Minnesota victim Castile, who was shot to death during a police traffic stop outside Minneapolis Wednesday and worked for the school system, "smart, over-qualified ... quiet, respectful, and kind." Sterling's shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Tuesday was captured in grainy cellphone footage, and the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights division said Wednesday they will be investigating the shooting.

In Chicago, these developments also follow outcry over Wednesday's news that defense attorneys for Jason Van Dyke, the officer facing murder charges for 17-year-old McDonald's death in 2014, are requesting access to McDonald's juvenile records. The issue of police accountability has also been at the forefront in recent City Council meetings where the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression has pushed for a civilian-elected police accountability board.

As of Thursday afternoon, Black Lives Matter Chicago was requesting donations to fly supporters to Minneapolis to join in Minnesota protests for Philando Castile.

"We understand your anger and your desire to demonstrate," the group posted on its Facebook page. "However, right now we need you to contribute with immediate support for the families impacted by this violent police crime!"

The Revolution Club's Loop protest is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday. A Chicago Call for Action plans to meet on the South Side at 6 p.m.