CHICAGO (CBS) — Anger continued to spill over Friday in Chicago and across the nation, over recent grand jury decisions not to indict two white police officers who were involved in the deaths of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York.
Protesters have staged rallies every day this week, after a Staten Island grand jury rejected criminal charges against New York Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo for performing a fatal chokehold on 43-year-old Eric Garner during an arrest in July – even though a friend of Garner’s recorded the arrest and an autopsy ruled it to be a homicide.
That decision came less than two weeks after a Missouri grand jury declined to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.
Friday morning, a group of parents and children gathered in the West Town neighborhood in Chicago, carrying signs, and shouting slogans, to get their point across about the Garner and Brown decisions.
They chose a high-traffic intersection at Ashland Avenue and Division Street, to deliver their message, and the least likely of protesters were some of the most vocal and opinionated.
The three Ryan children – the youngest a 2nd grader – were among those proudly marching and chanting “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”
“I don’t think it’s fair that this is happening, and I think it needs to change fast and drastically,” said 12-year-old Aidan Ryan, as she stood with her younger brother and sister.
The Ryan children and other kids voiced outrage at grand jury decisions in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
“Whites don’t have a privilege just to do what they want, and not get in trouble,” 4th grader Spencer Ryan said.
Aidan said she’s seen the video of Garner’s death, “and it’s just disturbing.”
“I don’t think it should have happened, and the guy should have been charged. It’s not okay,” she said.
Her younger sister, Sitota, said she hasn’t seen the video, but “my mom just told me all about it, and I felt really sad.”
Meredith West organized the protest with other moms. She said, whether you’re white or black, everyone has a responsibility for their actions.
“In my home, we try to talk about race every day, because the conversation is that people of color are having these conversations on a daily basis. It’s not a choice. It’s what they’re forced to talk about,” she said.
West said she wanted to hold the protest to help make sure “white people don’t stay willfully ignorant to what’s going on.”
It was a peaceful protest. Police officers monitored the rally the entire time, but stayed away, watching from across the street.
Over the last 48 hours, protests in Chicago have been mostly peaceful, though disruptive.
Hundreds of protesters marched in and around downtown on Thursday, staging “die-ins” by lying down in the street.
Tolerant Chicago police officers monitored the displays of civil disobedience and prevented the marchers from heading to their initial intended destination: Soldier Field, where a game was being played by the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys. The crowd of activists headed elsewhere, with some activists yelling, “No justice, no peace!” and “We can’t breathe!”
Around 8 p.m., protesters made their way up the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive and also blocked southbound traffic, as a wall of police officers awaited them at North Avenue. The group was eventually steered onto the Inner Drive.