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Mag Mile Protesters Block Storefronts On Black Friday & Demand Police Oversight

By aaroncynic in News on Nov 25, 2016 9:27PM

Hundreds of demonstrators marched through a bustling Magnificent Mile to urge Black Friday shoppers to skip their retail ritual and raise awareness of police violence towards people of color.

“We’re trying to discourage people from shopping on this most lucrative day for big business because they’ve been supportive of Rahm Emanuel, the FOP and those who commit police crimes in this city and we want a stop to that,” said Frank Chapman, an organizer with the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, the group who helped organize the march.

After a rally with several speakers, demonstrators marched down Michigan Avenue chanting “no justice, no profits” and “shut it down, shut it tight, the bosses can't profit when the workers unite." The group blocked several intersections and doorways to several stores, though police formed lines to let shoppers through. For the bulk of the three hour long demonstration, activists blocked a full block’s worth of shops including the Apple and Nike stores. At least one scuffle occurred in front of a Crate and Barrel, with police tackling and arresting at least one person.

Activists participating in the demonstration say they want community control over the police department. Despite Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s suggested police reforms, which include the replacement of the Independent Police Review Authority with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, they say they don’t go nearly far enough. Instead, they want what they call CPAC - the Civilian Police Accountability Council which, among other things, would not only replace the current oversight office but also the Police Board. In addition, CPAC would be in charge of hiring a police superintendent and investigating and prosecuting misconduct and shootings.
“Just this past Sunday we had a vigil for Joshua Beal and his family,” Kofi Ademola of Black Lives Matter Chicago told the crowd. “We didn’t even get the opportunity to properly mourn with and console the family of Darrius Jones. We are in a time where they are murdering us with impunity.”

This week alone, three people in Chicago have been shot by police officers. This latest wave comes just after the shooting of Joshua Beal, which has touched off several racially charged demonstrations in the Mount Greenwood Area.

“We are tired of the corruption that exists within the Chicago police force. How many children have died just this last week? As a mother, as a woman, we will not stand here and tolerate this behavior,” said Lashawn Latrice of Black Lives Matter Women of Faith.

The other core message of some demonstrators and activists is that the city should put more money, resources and services back into communities of color—most of which are located on the South and West Sides, out of sight from the tourists, shoppers, skyscrapers and wealth of the Loop and Magnificent Mile.

“We don’t see a disconnect,” said Ademola. “There’s been over 700 killings in our communities and the police have less than a 26 percent clearance rate. That means they’re not solving crimes. That means hiring 1000 more cops will do absolutely nothing for safety and security in our communities. We need resources. We need mental health clinics, schools, community centers and investments back into our communities and the businesses in our community.”