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Block Mag Mile on Black Friday for Laquan McDonald, Pfleger Tells Flock

By David Matthews | November 23, 2015 3:48pm
 Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church.
Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church.
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MAGNIFICENT MILE — One of the city's most outspoken activists is calling for a Black Friday protest on Michigan Avenue in response to the anticipated release of a video showing a police officer shooting teenager Laquan McDonald. 

The Rev. Michael Pfleger told his parish at St. Sabina Church in Auburn Gresham to lead the protest during his homily Sunday, drawing on the legacy of "civil disobedience" established during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. 

"If you really want to make a statement: Black Friday is coming up. The number one business day," Pfleger said. "Don’t shop on Black Friday and go down to Michigan Avenue and sit down in the street and block the street on Michigan Avenue with civil disobedience peacefully, and say 'business as usual can’t go on while our children are dying.'"

The call for protest came a few days after a judge ruled the city must release dashcam video from last year showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald, a 17-year-old with a knife, 16 times. The video will be released by Wednesday, prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials to brace for the subsequent outcry.

Meanwhile, Pfleger is using it as a call for families to "make a statement" on the busiest shopping day of the year, in Chicago's most prominent retail stretch, about police-involved shootings. Another Chicago police officer, Dante Servin, was acquitted of all charges earlier this year in the 2012 shooting death of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd.

"Why is Jason Van Dyke, why is he not fired?" Pfleger said during his homily. "You paid $5 million in a settlement. if you paid $5 million in a settlement you must think he’s guilty. Fire his butt."

The Sun-Times reported Monday afternoon that Van Dyke will receive criminal charges Tuesday, and the video is expected to be released at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The Cook County State's Attorney's office did not confirm that.

"The state's attorney's office has been engaged in an active and ongoing investigation into the shooting death of Laquan McDonald," a spokeswoman with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office said Monday. "We have been working with our investigative partners at the federal level to conduct a comprehensive investigation."

Pfleger's remarks drew applause throughout the mega South Side church, 1210 W. 78th St., whose audience Sunday included cast and crew of the "Chi-Raq" movie. Filmmaker Spike Lee also addressed the parish Sunday. 

Despite Pfleger's remarks, a representative of St. Sabina said no protest was "officially" being organized when asked Monday by DNAinfo. 

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