On what is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, Chicago protesters are threatening to disrupt the day with protests over the shooting death of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, according to Yahoo! News on Wednesday evening. Already, protests had begun immediately after the police dash cam video was released at approximately 6 pm CST on Tuesday when Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Supt. of Chicago Police Garry McCarthy concluded their news conference regarding the Laquan McDonald shooting. After the Tuesday night protest that involved chanting marchers moving from the loop area down to the near-South Side’s State Street and 18th Street police station, a number of demonstrations occurred on Wednesday as well. Some demonstrators were outside Mayor Emanuel’s office on Wednesday.
The demonstrations were to protest the death of the 17-year-old black Chicagoan by a white police officer. Though the death occurred Oct. 20, 2014, the video of the incident was not made public until a court-order was involved which resulted in the video finally being made available. The protesters are asking that supporters join them on Black Friday in an attempt to close down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile – Michigan Avenue – which is the elite shopping district in the city. The attempt to disrupt shopping, obviously, will greatly impact the stores as Black Friday would otherwise be a cash register-busy day for the many high-end merchants there. According to NBC News, Rev. Jesse Jackson has organized this major demonstration.
Jackson calls for protesters to march up Michigan Avenue at 11 a.m. on Friday. It will begin at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive and continue north up to Water Tower Place which is located just north of the intersection at Michigan Avenue and Chicago Street. Beyond the plan to protest on Black Friday along Michigan Avenue, the Board of Trade and other landmark locations in Chicago will be selected locations for protests in coming days.
Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago police officer, was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday. The video involved with the incident in which he has been charged was released after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy held a televised news conference at 4:30 on Tuesday afternoon. As anticipated, the release of the video ignited protests in the city. They were, for the most part, controlled and non-violent.
Of great concern is that the video and arrest of the police officer did not occur until some 400 days after the incident. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez are receiving much criticism for letting so much time lapse. Also of concern is that Emanuel claims to have not seen the video until Tuesday, but he was allegedly on-board to have the family of Laquan McDonald paid a total of $5 million regarding the death of the teenager. Naturally, this payment had to have been approved before Emanuel even saw the video and before the officer was arrested. At this time, many are looking to Emanuel for clarification of the events leading up to the protests and, thus far, responses have only led to more unanswered questions being asked. There are those who believe there was a cover-up of the incident until after Emanuel’s mayoral election which occurred earlier this year. Emanuel was in a contentious campaign against Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, but Emanuel emerged as the victor for his second term in office as Chicago’s mayor.