CHICAGO (CBS) — The message got out on Saturday – but not in the way it was planned.
Protesters against police brutality had hoped to walk on the Dan Ryan Expressway starting at noon on Saturday, but they did not get on, and instead took to local streets.
As CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reported, the Dan Ryan march was supposed to follow a rally at 47th and State streets. Hundreds of people had planned to take to the expressway, but a blue wall of Chicago Police officers made them take a detour.
They marched north on Indiana Avenue instead.
On a side street, organizer Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef was hoping for thousands to march on the expressway.
“Because the numbers weren’t there, we couldn’t go on the Dan Ryan,” Yosef said.
Ross asked Yosef if he was disappointed.
“I’m a little conflicted, but I understand the rule of law,” he said. “I’m passionate for my work and leading by example, I’ve got to do what I’m told.”
Before demonstrators took to the streets to raise awareness against police brutality, protesters and neighborhood residents raised their voices against one another.
“Take this back on the North Side!” one neighborhood resident said. “We didn’t catch a bus here. We didn’t catch a train here. We live right here!”
“I will walk on the Dan Ryan,” said Cassandra Greer-Lee, the wife of Nickolas Lee, a Cook County Jail inmate who died of COVID-19. “I’m sorry that that young man don’t understand that he needs to stand with me.”
First responders said the closest that any demonstrator got to the Dan Ryan was the on-ramp at 47th Street, where Illinois State Police walked demonstrators back to safety.
The presence of law enforcement at times blanketed the patchwork of protesters. Police prepared for larger crowds and adapted to the ones taking to the streets – including loved ones with stories and names they say were involved with police brutality and neglect.
“Looting will not get your vice being heard,” one man said. “That’s why I’m here, to get my voice heard.”
“I accomplished what I came out to do, but it’s still not good enough,” Yosef said. “We weren’t able to walk on the Dan Ryan, but we walked on the Dan Ryan in spirit, because their names are still getting the coverage they deserve.”
Protesters later gathered and marched at Millennium Park.
One of the things leading up to the march heard over and over again was that this would be a peaceful protest. All indications are that was the case.