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Another Massive Protest Planned For Black Friday On Magnificent Mile

By Stephen Gossett in News on Nov 22, 2016 7:24PM

Photo: Braden Nesin

Holiday shoppers and social-justice mobilizers alike, take note. One year after a massive protest blocked foot traffic in and out of stores along the Magnificent Mile on Black Friday, activists are set to return this year the day after Thanksgiving to once again demonstrate against police brutality.

The action last year was part of a larger wave of protests that filled Chicago streets immediately following the release of disturbing dashcam footage that captured the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald. The shooting also prompted a still-ongoing investigation into the Chicago Police Department by the Department of Justice. Police officer Jason Van Dyke faces a criminal charge of first-degree murder in the killing.

During last year’s demonstration, hundreds of protesters shut down traffic on the ritzy, tourist-friendly Michigan Avenue and several blocked storefront entrances to businesses on Black Friday—traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, of course.

According to a Facebook event page, this year’s action, which is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. at Water Tower, is coordinated by the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. The group has acted as reform gadfly for decades, dating back to the 1970s, and has been perhaps the vocal organization in leading the charge for the Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC).

The group says that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new police-oversight agency, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), only pays lip service to the idea of civilian-led oversight.

CAARPR posted:

"The COPA ordinance replaces the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) with a new ‘independent’ body to deal with police crimes and misconduct. It is just another mayor appointed layer of bureaucracy designed to excuse and justify police crimes. COPA is a cop-out, the system of fake police accountability continues."

“This corrupt, racist administration has proven that we cannot negotiate with them for justice. We must demand justice and fight for it,” the post continues.

In the year since the previous Black Friday protest, the issue of police accountability has remained front of mind in Chicago: shootings such as those of Joshua Beal and Paul O’Neal have continued to galvanize protest and CPD has reexamined its policy on use of deadly force. Protesters have initiated several massive protests downtown in the wake of Donald Trump's election victory.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 400 people on Facebook said they were attending the protest.