CHICAGO (CBS) – Activists hope to make an impression during the busiest shopping day of the year along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in response to a white police officer’s slaying of a black teen last year.
The “Black Friday”-timed event – occurring the day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers typically converge on the downtown – follows this week’s court-ordered release of a dash-cam videotape showing the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. A white police officer was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday, but protesters have taken to the streets this week; at least eight have been arrested in confrontations with police.
The “Unity March & Rally” is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at 401 N. Michigan and will make its way north toward Water Tower Place, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition says. The event is meant to promote social justice and economic development, according to a tweet from Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.
Ward 6 Ald. Roderick Sawyer is among African-American leaders who feel authorities did not handle the investigation into McDonald’s shooting properly. He said he supports the protest march along the Mag Mile.
“It’s going to shake up Michigan Avenue. It’s going to make some people uncomfortable, and it should. People should be upset about what went on over the last year,” Sawyer tells CBS 2.
The trade group representing businesses along the iconic retail corridor said it respects the rights of protesters.
“We hope that any assembly on Friday will continue to be peaceful,” the Magnificent Mile Association said in a prepared statement.
McDonald was shot 16 times in October 2014 by the same officer. The troubled teen was suspected of slashing at tires with a knife as police closed in on him.
Some are angry that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office took more than a year to press charges against the officer, Jason Van Dyke. Incumbent State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who faces political opponents, has said the slow pace of a parallel federal investigation is to blame.